"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it." H.L. Menken

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Victory Weekend

With midterms on their way, and the ominous Butte winter not far distant, I've been feeling the need to capitalize on every nice weekend. Its a good thing then, that this weekend was stellar. 

On Saturday, the 3rd annual Butte Boulder Bash brought climbers from though out MT to the trailer boulders, on the east side of the batholith. Big Props to the Backwaters crew for organizing the event. This was my first time in attendance, and I was super impressed with the organization, mellow atmosphere, quality problems and piles of shwag. Highlight was seeing tons of familiar faces from across the state, and  trading beta over far too many microbrews.  

 Unfortunately, I was too busy climbing to do much picture taking, but I'm sure other blogs will give a better synapsis anyway. Here's a pic of Jarred (former room mate and Bozemanian crusher) Pickens dispatching "Blood Feather," a neat v6.

On Sunday, Ross, Kiersa and myself somehow managed to get an early start on the morning, and bombed westward over Homestake pass to the Anacondas. After a mandatory (hangover-killing) egg McMuffin stop at the golden arches we pulled into the Seymore Creek trailhead, with the intent of hiking Mt Evans and Mt Howe in a loop, via their connecting ridge. This was a trip I'd been scoping all season, so I was excited to attempt it before the first major snowfall.

The plan was to do the hike as counter clockwise loop, crossing Howe's SE ridge, and the Sullivan Creek drainage, before gaining the E Ridge of Evans and looping our way back.

 Ross, obviously feeling like a million bucks, as we traversed Sullivan creek drainage to gain Evans East ridge.

 Mt. Howe 10,472' (at left) and Mt. Evans 10,641' (at right). Our route followed this skyline almost exactly.

 The Anacondas can get a little more rugged than you'd expect.

 Evans as seen from Sullivan ridge.

 Ross heading up the ridge, with a really cool and huge lateral moraine in the background.

 The fun class 3 section of the ascent. Pretty Casual. 

 Looking west towards Greatwhite Peak, from the summit of Evans. Mt. Powell (and the Flynnt Creek Range) is in the background)

 Looking south into the heart of the A-P wilderness from Evans.

 Ross opting for the 5th class descent.

 Looking back at our route off of Evans.

 Group shot from the saddle.

 The Seymore Lake cirque, with West Goat Peak (10,793' at left) and Warren Peak (10,463' at right) poking up in the distance. 

Mt. Howe and our route from the saddle.

Kiersa and Ross on the Summit of Howe. Georgetown lake is down to the right.

Looking from Howe back to Evans.

Kiersa on the long descent back to Seymore creek.

Overall it was well over 5,000' elevation gain and probably about sixteen miles. The loop, the views, the scrambling made this probably my favorite trip in the Pintlers. I thought I would've tapped the range out after this trip, but after catching sight of Greatwhite peak, I'm sure I'll head back. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

In the land of virgins (boulders).

More climbing, more Lucky Strike, more FAs. Does it get better than October climbing season?

 Riding the seems on "Frontier Justice" a new quality v4.

 Smokestack Lightning v2

 Smokestack Lightning

 Honky Tonk Blues v5

 The Painted Pony v6

 The Painted Pony

The best score of all has been on the Wonderland boulder. (Originally we were calling it the Mad-Hatter due to the crazy disc resting on top.) This incredible  block has already yielded two classic lines, The Mad hatter stand and Through the Looking Glass, the latter maybe the best line I've ever put up.

 Starting move of "Through the Looking Glass." v6

 The Looking Glass from another angle

 Looking Glass

 Looking Glass

 Getting into the business of "The Mad Hatter stand" v6

 Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter

Here's A short video of two of these little gems.

Tomorrow is the Butte Bouldering Bash. Here's to hoping I win some swag! Hope to see y'all out climbing!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dry Gulching

For reasons unknown, I'm a big fan of the Townsend limestone. There's a unique feel in the scraggily old gulches that is difficult to place. Maybe its the abandoned mining equipment in Indian Creek, or the petroglyphs in Hellgate, but there is a distinctly Ol' Western vibe, that I like. 

What adds to the area, is the surprising number of routes. I have no idea about the specifics, but I'd guess between the three developed canyons that over 150 lines have been bolted. But perhaps the most important asset of the Townsend climbing scene is the weather, which for whatever reason, always seems to be warmer, sunnier and drier than Butte or Missoula. 

The best part of this trip however, had nothing to do with the climbing. We just happened to roll into Townsend in the middle of its annual Fall Harvest Celebration, which entailed (but was not limited to) funnel cake, games, cotton candy,antique car show, a country western street dance, buckle-betties, and beer vendors.  ...Mark your calendars for next year! This could turn into an excellent fall climbing tradition. 

Unfortunately, an evening at the Commercial bar, meant that I was to haggered to take many photos. 
Here is a series of Kevin Barnett dispatching the Indian Creek classic, "Vision Quest."

Entering the crux.

 Roadside belay. Every old timer will stop and chat you up. 

100' to the chains.

Looking forward to getting back.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I've been sprinting out to Lucky Strike whenever my class schedule, the weather, and my tips will allow. New problems keep springing up, but the list of projects seems to be compiling even faster. So far roughly thirty problems have been established. Its been fun getting back into shape on fresh stone, as it does not come with the usual frustration of flailing on problems I have done with ease in the past. The disadvantage however, is that we have no idea what to grade anything. Kyle and I were talking about it, and I don't believe we've climbed on a previously established problem all fall, which equates to no fame of reference. ...Not that it matters much. 

 Looking out to the Sky Ranch Arete, with Red Mtn and the Highlands in the background.

 Sky Ranch arete up close. Double heel hooks?

 Looking into the clusters of the two main hills of Lucky Strike.

Zooming in on the "Red Light district."

Well my clothes once again smell like campfire, which me sending season is upon us. Leaving for the Limestone of Townsend in 20 minutes, assuming I can find my harness. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

When the Backbone was still the Backbone.

At used book sale the other day,  I cam across a pamphlet I found extremely interesting. "Good Medicine in Glacier National Park," by Adolph Hungry Wolf. The book (long out of print) tells stories of the Blackfeet (and occasionally Kootenai) in GNP. And, while the stories are neat, the photos are what I found the most fascinating. 

 Lodges on the top of the pass. Mt. Reynold in the background. 

 "Running Wolf's saced lodge on Two Medicine Lake."

 "Two-Guns-White-Calf and companions"

Riding near the battle  of the Cut bank river. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The most gangster, moderate (low-end), climbing video in the history of suburban white-boys listening to rap.

I went out to Lucky Strike today with the intention of getting a send of the Long Knife on video. Which, it turns out, was a poor idea. The other night, Kyle (my room mate) convinced me that weighted pull ups were the best way to get really strong in hurry. ...Or the best way to feel wrecked for multiple days in a row. Instead, I made a video of an easier problem I put up a week or so ago. 

P.S. This video is worth watching again just to listen to how absurd this song is.

P.P.S. I don't drink purple drink, nor think I'm a G.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Daydreams: Brought to you from the Montana Tech Library

Once again, Montana Tech (my lovely university) has been recognized as one of the top ten schools, in the United States, for student dissatisfaction. (To be fair, all ten schools were either fellow engineering schools or military academies... neither of which generally enjoy a reasonable guy/girl ratio.)

I am no exception. Calc III is roughly a billion time less fun than scamming on ladies in art appreciation, at the good-ol' Uof M. 

Instead, I find myself staring out the library window at the Anacondas, procrastinating and making tick lists. 

 Peaks climbed (at left) and on the agenda (at right), organized by region. Compliments of my Environmental Sampling notebook. 

 Howe, Evans and Haggin respectively. As seen from the Natural Resources building on campus. 

Bagging Howe and Evans in tandem via their connecting ridge-line has been on my mind all summer.  While I should have been doing physics I pulled up the topo... Looks good to me.

Tomorrow the high temp for Butte is 45 degrees, which may well mark the full transition to climbing season... Sending temps.

Monday, October 1, 2012


 I've developed something of a pattern with my weekends, which generally goes like this: climb, hike, climb. This weekend was no exception. After bagging West Goat on Saturday, John David and Sarah came over from Bozeman and Missoula respectively to sample the development at Lucky Strike. ...JD takes pretty pictures.

Hiking in through the aspens. 

 Sarah so close on "The Shaft of Doom." Instant, easy classic.

 JD, defining the beta.

 She's not little.

 Continuing with the classy names, Sarah cruxing on "Browneye."

 The day ended with us cleaning up a problem I've been eyeballing for some time. Sarah attempting the newly established "Pretty Shield."

Pretty Shield from another angle. This block will hold multiple quality problems.

Getting back out for some projecting with Kyle this afternoon. ...The advantage of Butte.