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

Monday, June 3, 2013


So I haven't updated the blog in some time. After moving to Bozeman, I decided that the scene and development were already pretty well covered by other sources. But... following a recent trip into the Beartooths, a new area was established worthy of some spray. 

After being blown away by the amount of untouched blocs along the trail to Mystic lake, I enlisted the burl of Charlie Barron and returned a week later. 

Long story short, Charlie crushed everything he touched and established a series of problems (v5-v9) worthy of the five star designation. 

Double-Door Arete V8 on the Gatekeeper boulder. A scant five minutes from the parking lot. Directly off off the trail. 

Double-Door Arete. A scant 5 minutes from the parking lot, directly off the trail.

Breakfast of Champions V9. The send of the day involved two huge dynamic moves on a beautifully featured overhang. 

Another view of Breakfast of Champions.

Charlie after taking a scary fall (before eventually sending) Rain Dance V7, on the Thunderhead. 

Charlie cleaning of the top out of Rain Dance. Steep incut crimps, with a crux foot dyno and mantle. 

 Myself on Hyperphagia V4. A very cool roof and my sole worthwhile contribution to the send train. 

 Hyperphagia: A period of intense eating by bears prior to hibernation. 

 A little bit of scenery. 

CB Sticking the crux move of the terrific, Never Ending Summer V5.

Finally, Charlie feeling out the moves on the incredibly proud Thunderhead project. 

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.