On Sunday, Colin, Chris and I made the drive south to the Lost River Range and an attempt on Mount Borah. The forecast was favorable and indeed it turned out so nice. We hit the trail just after seven a.m. and ascended the obvious avy path, gully just above camp. Rejoining the summer trail 3,000′ feet above we negotiated chicken ridge with its mountaineering moves and proceeded onto the final thousand of mixed boot packing in snow and rock climbing on shelfs and talus slopes. The wind was quite calm at the summit, so we enjoyed a lunch, scoping out the north facing potential, and waving the stars and stripes that had been left on the summit. Turns out it was Patriot Day so we did our duty well!
The descent from the summit required skiing through rocks on slim snow patches to the descent gully which was in decent wind scoured shape and at times turning to corn. We hit no ice and enjoyed the full 3,500′ run down to the trees where we hit isothermic mash that made all travel very difficult and even a bit dangerous as it was impossible to turn, and the skis were sunk below the surface at least a foot. We slogged it out and around the corner ending with a walk across sage flats back to the Eurovan, which by the way is for sale…what a great camping rig!
All in, a fabulous ski day with quite a bit of technical scrambling, lots of vertical relief and aesthetic and difficult lines to ski.
April has been quite good to western Montana for snowfall, but likely too little too late to offset the regional drought. Jenny and I were up at Lost Trail Pass skiing on Friday and with the lifts closed and the parking lot empty it was a very enjoyable private powder party. We saw no other touring skiers and had the upper mountain to ourselves. The snow was good, cold, dry powder and we took a few runs in the burnt glades before heading home. Saturday I joined Colin for another trip to the Missions where the snowpack is much more favorable. We headed up to Greywolf Peak for an attempt on the east face. We arrived as the sun was starting to touch off the round of point release slides so we hung out at the head of the basin under a rock and watched the show. It settled down a bit around 1p.m. and we made one short attempt to gain another safety point before wisely calling off the big mountain attempt. We settled for some east facing skiing bowls above scenic lakes and took a couple runs there before heading out to the Riddell Lakes ridge descent. We were able to ski to 5000′! elevation which was remarkable on the south face. It was a beautiful couple days of blue sky powder skiing in the high country. I realize that my dreams of winter are to next year, but every chance the weather gives us is a good reason to head into the hills again.