Monday, October 23, 2006

Back in the snow

In Hunter's Orange on way up to Rodgers Peak

At the top
Any time you hike or climb in Montana on the opening day of big game hunting season you’re taking a chance.
So, we suited up in our hunter’s orange (although my climbing partner and I aren’t hunters) so we’d be seen well since we hike and climb off trail and could easily be mistaken by an anxious hunter.
We’d gotten a slug of moisture the past couple of days and the mountains have fresh snow.
A Rocky Mountain Front covered in white stretched from south to north as we headed to Rogers Pass Sunday. Rocky Mountain Peak gleamed under the bright blue, cloudless sky. Ear Mountain, Sawtooth and Castle Reef had similar blankets.
What with hunters and new snow we had trouble making up our mind what to do.
We considered Mount Wright briefly and headed instead to Rogers Pass where we thought we might enjoy some of the high, open country along the Continental Divide Trail.
We figured that the clouds behind the pass would blow away.
Wrong!
Instead, we fought a cloud cover, high winds and about 6 inches of snow as we slogged up about 1,700 feet to the top of Rogers Peak. We followed the Continental Divide Trail as it switch-backed up the peak in the forest, finally breaking out in the open where we left it to get behind the mountain’s outcrops to avoid a howling wind.
We stayed below the ridgeline where the climbing was manageable, although the snow got deeper and icier. The exposed rock on this peak is a mixture of bright red, green and gray rock.
We had to guess at the top of the peak because of the heavy cloud cover. The wind pushed the clouds speedily across the sky.
Eventually we hit the top, stopped for a photo at the summit cairn and worked our way down, in spots sledding down on our butts.
Although we saw several cars in the area we presumed belonged to hunters, I heard only one shot all day.
As we drove away from the pass the sky was once again clear. It seems as though we had picked the one spot on the Front clogged with clouds.
Yet we had a wonderful climb that prepared us for the fast-approaching winter.
I apologize for the missed posts but I got sick and that took me out of commission for three weeks.I’m back and raring to go.

3 comments:

Mell said...

Tom,
Sorry to hear that you were sick. I hope that was not a result from your trip at 2 medicine. Anyway I just checked in on your blog to see what you were up to. Good to hear you made it back from this adventure.
Warm Regards,
Mell : )

Anonymous said...

Good to hear you are back. I've been missing your posts and pictures. Hiking on opening day? Yikes! I'd be Blaze Orange from head to toe when out on that day.

I've been using some of your scenery shots for my computer's wallpaper. The pics remind me of my years in Montana

Keep bringing it!

Jeff

Anonymous said...

Tom,

Glad you're back at it. Thanks for the pics of Rising Wolf and Flinsch Peak, both with new snow. I likely won't see any snow this 'winter' in Alabama but will look forward to you continued posts.