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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

So long Butte, America

My last final of summer session is on Friday and (with all due respect to the lovely city of Butte) I am immediately getting the hell out-of-dodge. My old boss informed me that a spot opened up on the Glacier Institute's Big Creek crew for the end of July-Aug. Well twist my arm. Spend another month on the N Fork? Yes please. 

While I will probably be spending the majority of my time making hundreds of PB&J's, putting band-aids on non-existent wounds, and yelling at little boys not to pee on the bunkhouse toilet seat, I might also get a little recreating in.

 Here are a couple peaks that are on the chopping bloc this year. While I'm sure my plans will change once I'm actually back in the Flathead, I always like to have a little motivation going in.



Bishop's Cap

Rising Wolf (preferably in conjunction with Red Plume and Bad Marriage)

With any luck the rest of my summer posts will be from the north country... which due to the shitty nature of Big Creek's generator means they will probably be sporadic.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Torrey Lake and a bunch of Pioneer Rock.

Turns out moving out of your apartment really blows. Especially, if you're dedicated to getting your security deposit back. After multiple days of scrubbing goo out of my fridge I decided that wilderness was much needed. The only problem was I decided this at around 4pm on Saturday. Which I arrogantly decided was not going to stop me form going backpacking. Which in turn meant I didn't leave my car for Torrey Lake until 6:30pm. ....Yep, hiked by headlamp and sent my tent up in the dark. 

With that said, the Pioneers are very cool and relatively untrafficked mountains (I only saw one other party the entire time and had the entire lake basin to myself). Torrey Lake is nestled high between Tweedy and Torrey Mountains, the tallest Montana peaks outside the greater Yellowstone and only 11,000 footers west of I-15. 

I hoped to bag one of the peaks, but unfortunately my puppy Norma was a wuss and appeared incapable of technical scrambling, and I didn't have the heart to leave her as cougar bait by the lake. 

With that said the lake was rad, and the mountains lived up to the claim made in the old Cafferty guide that the southern Pioneers hold the largest quantity of untested granite in the state. 

 The hike in.

An epic buttress. 

Another one. 

Last light on tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum. Two stellar spires on Tweedy's east ridge.  


Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum again, with the lake below for scale. 

My tent in front of Torrey.

Hopefully I'll be back for the peaks. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Orphan Girl (a Butte gem)

I found this little beauty a while back but was never sure it was worth it to establish a problem that was completely isolated from other worthy stone. After revisiting it on a hike however I decided that is what makes this problem more compelling. Steep moves, scary top out, pretty scenery, perched high above a creek. I'm convinced its one of the better problems for its grade in the batholith, especially for the Buttian side of the pass. The stone is typical of the west side, but overall very solid, and will only get better with more climbing.

Here is a little video I made. This blog is getting classier by the day. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Should be studying so I'll keep this short. My buddy flaked on some weekend plans, so on a whim I decided to head to the western Anacondas (Pintlers by local jargon) and attempt to climb Warren Peak. I'd tried Warren once before, but do to some sloppy route planning never even got close. Hiking solo, is always a little different, but its nice traveling at your own pace not having to make consultations for every route finding decision. With that said, I arrogantly turned the peak into a loop that added 5 miles of slogging through lodgepoles in a thunderstorm. Still a very cool peak that deserves a little more praise. 
Warren Peak on the drive in. My root was the ridge on the right skyline. 

 Waterfall on the hike in.

 Clark's Nutcracker.

View of Warren from the Ridgeline. 

 Looking back down the scree to Lake Edith. My path on the way up. 

 View into the heart of the Pintlers (Anacondas on most maps)

 Iced in lake as seen from the summit. 

 Mandatory summit shot. 

Looking down into Grover Basin. My route on the decent.  

"Fresh tracks brah!" 

One last look at Warren from Tamarack Lake. Note the suddenly dark sky. Yep summer lightning storm. Luckily I was already down.  

Finally, what I am claiming is a wolverine den, found in the deep snow at the head of Tamarack Lake. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Stuart Peak the long way.

Got a camera for my birthday, which means y'all can expect far more regular posts. Over the 4th Sarah and I decided to skip out on the war zone like celebrations you could expect from Butte, and head into the Rattlesnake. For all the time, I've spent putzing around in the recreation area, I'd never actually made it to the wilderness boundary. 

The plan was to bikepack to the Franklin Bridge, camp and fish, then stash our packs bike to the wilderness boundary and hike the back way up stuart peak. It actually worked pretty flawlessly (with the exception of the fishing) though, I will admit to underestimating the overall milage given our short time window. 
 Sarah trucking in on the old forest service road. 

 Some hardman's cabin, 15 miles from the trailhead. 

 Monching, on the dam at the first lake. 

Rattlesnake creek through a pretty cool chute. No idea if creek boaters run it.  

Lake Mckinnely.

Being my first experience with the new camera, I punted and did not charge the battery. Right about here is were it died. We did summit and the views towards the missions and swans were pretty awesome. 

4th of July has come and past, I'm now a crusty old man (25), and peakbagging season is on. Huzzah!