Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year begins with Rooster Bill

Bob Willits takes off his climbing skins after reaching the top of Mount Joy 
Willits enjoys the great snow on Rooster Bill
The winds were gusting, and the sun shining as the clouds skittered at great speed across the Continental Divide at Stemple Pass as we welcomed in the New Year with a run down Rooster Bill Creek in the Helena National Forest.
The snow, with a slight hoar frost on the top, was surprisingly good.
There’s a good base on the divide in contrast to the spotty base in the Little Belts.
I hadn’t skied Rooster Bill, an easy 7-mile run, for about four years.
I like to do this backcountry ski along the Continental Divide Trail with a twist, by taking off from the trail, skinning up, and climbing Mount Joy before telemarking back down to the trail.
We had originally started out to climb Crater Mountain for some tele skiing, but the gale force winds were hammering the sides of the mountain.
The Rooster Bill option, in the shelter of a narrow draw through the timber, proved to be a good choice.
Rooster Bill leaves the Continental Divide Trail about 4 miles into the ski. As you leave the trail into Rooster Bill you pass through about 500 feet of telemark slopes. We played there for a while in some great powder before dropping into the timber.
There’s some confusion about accessibility of Rooster Bill because private land at the bottom. We decided to go for it because there were some faint tracks on it, indicating that other skiers had gone through.
We weren’t disappointed ---- beginning 2007 with some tele skiing and a peak bagged.

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