Get out and Ride

After living in Montana for most of my grown life, I have found myself always serching for new zones to snowboard and bike. Over the past few years alot of my adventrues were inspired by looking at mountain ranges on google earth, then getting online to reasearch access to them. I have found that the majority of my inspiration as of late, has come from blogs that I have stumbled apon. These blogs have not only inspired me, they consistently teach me of all the great areas of Montana I have not seen. On top of the inspiration, these blogs have kept me curiously searching for more. They have also helped me plan trips and access areas without a throw-away scouting trip. I hope that this blog can do the same for a couple more people in Montana. I hope that this inspires other to get out and REALLY see Montana. This blog is for all those who participate in the endless search for more....More mountain escapes, whiteroom apointments, after work bike rides, or persuit of personal progression, Most of us are in the constant serach for Gnarnia. Lets get out and Ride. What do you ride for? I made this blog to display my seach in hopes of inspiration, less solo missions, and more adventures with like minded individuals.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Spring Missions-Mickey D's

We all have our list of peaks that we wish to ski.  Some peaks with easy access are quickly checked off the list.  Others stay on the list for years for different reasons.  Every season I write a list of peaks or descents that I would like to climb and ski.  Every year I get to check a few off the list.  This peak however was written on a pad of paper years ago.  Every year since then hesitantly written, knowing in the back of my mind it likely wouldn't happen, but a constant friendly reminder every time I refereed back to the list, that it was still there, and I had not skied it.  Year to year living on that list  as a top "must-do" tour.

Every year I found myself at some point reading the few scattered trip reports and statistics on climbing the peak.  Tales of heinous bushwhacks through alder, Grizzly bears, and the larger than average vertical gain always detoured me to other areas.  Years of driving by this peak combined with the stories always made the peak seem like a challenging place to go.  In a way over the years I made this peak bigger and more challenging in my head, giving a sense of intimidation every time I considered heading up there. Inevitably this year felt like the year and we gave it a go.  I was pleasantly surprised after the day, and somewhat disappointed in myself for putting this peak on a pedestal for so long.  A tour with challenges, but reasonably strait forward, these mountains still keep me on edge and intimidated with their big nature and close to 6000 feet of vertical relief to the valley floor below. 

Photo: Curt T.

Photo: Curt T.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Crescent Peak-North Face Direct

Last season as Curt and I reached the top of Crescent Peak for the first time we made the mistake of looking down the north face of the peak.  Walking to the edge your stomach drops as you see the entrance to a few lines dropping out of site and a few avalanche paths running to the creek bottom below.  On that day we said to each other that we would return to ride the face.  With the size of these blind lines and the cliffy nature of the peak it was decided we would have to take a bottom up approach so we could scout the lines.  We gave it a shot last year in March but unfortunately rains had caused the face to wet slide off and be in solid ice conditions.  We climbed about 2/3rds of the way up and painfully retreated making dreadful turns down near solid ice.  This season we had the face in the back of our mind most of the year, however judging the correct conditions on this face seem to be tricky.  These are not lines to mess around with.  Climbing from the creek to the peak 3100 feet in less than a mile, the terrain is steep.  The face drains into three avalanche path exits. The far right path exits over an un-passable cliff band.  The middle exits over a 50 foot cliff band with one pinch exit that is extremely steep. And the final exit on the left with a tight meandering cliff/gully.  Long story short, any slide or accident would end very badly.  Even thinking of loosing an edge makes you feel a bit queezy. 

We returned to the face last weekend with probable good conditions.  We were bummed to see that sections of the run had wet slid earlier in the week, in fact there was evidence of numerous slides throughout the season one after another carving each other out. It is apparent that this thing is quite active.  Most of the burned trees looking as if they had been smoothly sandpapered down to twigs.
The climb was tough having to kick hard steps in every boot pack to crack through the thin ice layer and make sure footing was well placed not to fall.  Memories of climbing ice last year had us thinking of horrible, icy gripped turns all the way down.  We pushed on in hopes of soft snow.  The face catches more sun than we thought this time of year so we hoped one of the shaded sides of the gully would hold colder snow without direct sun.  Topping out we gave it a rip.  Lucky for us the snow was preserved boot top powder in the protected riders left side of the gully allowing us to enjoy boot top powder turns about 2500 feet until it turned to perfect corn the remainder of the run out.  We exited the center avi path through the really steep pinch cleaving the cliff ban and carved out to the creek.  A day that started with doubts quickly turned to smiles, feeling amazed to ride this complicated, engaging run.  We felt truly lucky to catch this finicky beast in good conditions on a beautiful day.