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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Goats.

 West Goat Peak is another mountain that's been calling my name ever since I moved to Butte. You can really only go into a range so many times before you want to bag the highpoint. At 10,973, that happens to be W. Goat. 

As I drove down the Big Hole, I was excited to notice that a night rainstorm seemed finally quelled the smoke. The sun was out, the aspens were golden, and W. Goat was looming over the valley south of Wise River... and it was at that moment I realized that I'd forgotten my god-damn camera. 

Overall the high point of the Anaconda's was a big day. Not technical at all, but quite long. I'm not sure on the mileage, but I'd bet on upwards of sixteen (I did it as a loop bagging East Goat in the process) with 4,500 of elevation. 

I ripped these photos from Summitpost... the quality blows. Sorry. 
West and East Goat as seen from Warren peak.

 Looking towards the summit from the Lost Lake cirque. 

Enough hiking for the weekend. The Lord's day is for bouldering.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lucky Strike: more development.

Technically speaking,  Lucky Strike Canyon is a few gulches over, but the Lucky Strike boulders seemed like a fitting name considering the potential quality. In fact, much of the rock is high enough grade that much of it was quarried back in the day.  I've been returning whenever possible (only 20 minutes from my house to chalking up), and Kyle and I have been steadily cleaning and adding new problems. No better way to get back into fall climbing shape, then sprinting through the woods like an idiot, gunning for new problems. 

 Sheep Eater V4+

White girl problems V3

 Navajo high-step V2

 Perhaps the best find was The Long Knife project: a long, well attached flake, which gashes its way out of a steep corridor, and finishes with a dyno to the lip.
Kyle feeling out the rail. 

The sequence:

From another angle:

 The dyno. Aka the crux. 

A closer look at the feature. 

All the moves have been sussed and stuck, now its just a matter of linking. Hopefully there will be a video soon. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Highland Traverse

A flaked partner and low funds in the bank account had me scrambling to find a last-minute adventure a little closer to town this weekend. Initially,  I'd been itching to bag Mt. Evan in the Anacondas, but with the puppy in tow, I decided to keep things a bit mellower. Instead, the Highland ridge traverse was selected. Three 10,000+ peaks all above tree-line within spitting distance of Butte. 

 Table mtn (center) and Red mtn (right) seen through the haze from the Butte Walmart, when I stopped for the morning grub. 

 The route requires heading up the old road to the abandoned Red mtn lookout (seen here) and following the ridge up to the summit of Red (in the distance).

Looking towards Butte from the lookout.

 Great view from the can.  

 A look at the traverse (This pre-smokey pic is taken from the summit of Red Mtn last July). 

 After descending the opposite side of Red, the route requires summiting Peak 10,136 (Second tallest in the Highlands) on excellent goat trails. 

 Looking down into a moonscape cirque. 

 After Peak 10,136, the geology changed dramatically, from sharp volcanic scree to alpine tundra. The plateau summit of Table mtn at back. 

 Emerald lake: The headwaters of the Clark Fork (and depending on how you measure the Columbia).

 Summit cairn and a weather station on Table's broad summit.

Looking back at the route. Peak 10,136 at left, and Red at right. 

First round of exams is now upon me, so the only mountains I'll probably interact with in the near future, will be out the library window. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nuevo Boulders.

 With the temps starting to cool just slightly, returning to the batholith (specifically the higher sectors) is becoming tempting once again. My roommate / Missoulian transplant Kyle has been high on motivation for a while now, and has been crushing new problems throughout the top of the pass. Yesterday, we went to go scope a potential new zone I'd eyeballed on a trail run the week previously. In truth, I was mainly thinking this area might make a good little training circuit, but the quality and features of the rock (a rare batholith combo) have me convinced it may turnout to be the closest and quickest legit area for Buttians (All 5 climbers in town).

Kyle getting a quick FA on Old Ironsides V4. Pretty neat finish on this one. 

 Getting ready to launch on an excellent seem-to-seem dyno. 

Still a project...

Send of the day was a stellar new V6 dubbed "The Great White Buffalo." Awesome and smooth rock with a  wild double thumb-catch crux. Here is the sequence:

A look at the crux from another angle.

Expect more soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Haggin through the hellfire

I've had my eye on Mt. Haggin,  more or less, the entire time I've been living in Butte. It dominates the skyline to the west, and is a constant distraction out the library window. Stuck in town for the weekend due to an unfortunately timed chem test, I decided that Saturday would be my one day of redemption. ...Which means I woke up hungover to a post-apocalyptic smokey hell-scape, and had to stop for coffee, an egg McMuffin, and lunch supplies. This resulted in a departure from my vehicle at approximately 10:30, which is generally considered an alpine start by Buttian standards. 

The peak itself was actually pretty cool. 14 miles with, according to Summitpost, with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain. The hike literally begins in Anaconda (you park in a church parking lot. Amen!) and follows an old road to the damned Hearst lake, the town's water supply.  

 Norma, leading the way through the aspens just above town.

 An old brick structure nestled below Hearst lake.

 Hearst and its damn. The Larches are already turning gold up high!!!

 After reaching Hearst the hike involved a bushwack to a higher southern cirque, which allegedly was home to a smaller lake. When I got up there she was bone dry.

From the cirque the route involved traveling up the prominent NE gully to gain the summit ridge. Some hardy oldtimer made his miners cabin directly along my path.

The true summit as seen from the ridge.  

 Norma investigating the world's largest summit cairn. 

Looking towards Evans and Howe peaks through the haze. 


 Red sky on the hike out. 

Hopefully West Goat peak is next.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Escape from the Haze

I'm fully aware that I haven't published a worthwhile post, about anything besides GNP in an extended period of time. After arriving back in Butte for the fall semester I expected this to change. Too bad the 19mile fire (amongst others) decided to meddle with my plans, by clogging Silverbow County with a nasty haze. 

When my Bozemanian buddy JD told me he was fleeing the smoke for Glacier, I weaseled a spot into his car. Yes, I'd only left the Flathead for 10 days, but I was still eager to get back.

Highlight of the trip (aside from a inebriated evening at the Northern Lights Saloon in Polebridge) was our trip up Mount Henry in the Two Med. (Sidenote: the former name of Mt. Henry, Bearchief is infinately more badass, and refers to one of the more hostile Blackfeet war chiefs.) The Two Medicine has steadily  become one of my favorite sectors of the park. The ridge walk up Henry was different than most peaks I've done in the park. Instead of the lush vegetation I usually associate Glacier, this hike was almost barren, and reminded me of the Lima peaks. It also had a very spicy section that involved hight exposure in both side of a razor this ridge. ...I was too busy being scared to bust out the camera.

 JD Babe-Ruthing the summit.

 High wind on the east side. 

 Ridge walk from Medicine to Henry.

 The non-existant goat trail.

 Matching up peaks from the summit. Rising Wolf dominating the skyline at right.

 Looking out on the prairie to the Sweetgrass Hills (sacred to the Blackfeet). Even though this pic looks hazy, this is actually the clearest I have seen them. 

Rad painting on a building in East Glacier. 

Here is to hoping peak season didn't die with labor day.