Monday, October 15, 2007

Castle Reef in fall splendor

A most perfect fall day greeted us at our Sun Canyon trailhead

Mark Hertenstein in the broken arches on the ridge line

On top with Sawtooth in the background

The rocky way down
There couldn’t have been a more perfect fall day than Sunday for a climb of Castle Reef (elevation: 8,330 feet) in the Front.
This Sun Canyon beauty rises nearly 4,000 feet from the valley floor, which was spangled in autumnal colors.
The sky was a bright clear blue, which made the mountains in the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the west, pop.
There were only light patches of snow, so the going was easy.
The climb is pretty straightforward --- find a way to get on the ridge quickly and follow it to the top. There is a faint climber’s/goat trail in many spots.
Keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, which are plentiful. We saw a small herd at the end of our climb.
What made this hike particularly enjoyable was the clear air. After last summer’s fires one realizes what a treasure pure air with unlimited vistas is.
We came off the ridgeline at about 7,500 feet and dropped the last 3,000 feet straight down scree chutes from the south face below the “castle” ramparts. It was a thrilling and easy descent.
Along the way we stopped to shoot photos of the spectacular fall colors.
A chance to show off

The scramble up

The top

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