Wednesday, August 05, 2009

High summer, Glacier Park fun

On top of Mount Morgan in Glacier

Dear friends (and Geezers) Rick Reese and Wayne Phillips on top Mount Siyeh

Brother Dan Kotynski with his family at Two Med

While I haven’t been posting for three weeks, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t busy; just the opposite.
I’m freshly back from more than two weeks in Glacier National Park where I climbed with Glacier Mountaineering Society friends, and hiked with family members.
During that time I did the following:
· Got introduced to Deadwood Falls in the St. Mary River drainage;
· Climbed McClintock and Morgan Peaks in the Two Medicine;
· Climbed Mount Siyeh for the fourth time, this time with two dear friends, descending the steep and cliffy west face;
· Got rained out on Curly Bear Mountain, but salvaged the day with an exploratory above Virginia Falls on the flank of Dusty Star Mountain. The area there has some potential as a route to Almost a Dog Mountain;
Daughter Lei at Sun Canyon Ranch
· Enjoyed an “off” day with a stroll up Oberlin Peak at Logan Pass;
· Took classic Glacier hikes with family members including Siyeh Pass, the waterfalls hike around Two Medicine Lake, Ptarmigan Tunnel and Iceberg Lake in a day, Firebrand Pass, and Grinnell Glacier;
· Rafted the Middle Fork of the Flathead;
· Picked tons of huckleberries, which my wife, Katie, made into an incredible pie;
· Did some horseback riding in the Front in the Sun River Canyon with my daughter.
It was great being around my brother, Dan, his wife Kristin and their three children, and three of my five children. We stayed for a week at a summer home Dan had rented on the Heart Butte Road near East Glacier in very wild grizzly habitat
Couple of observations: the GMS group I was with on McClintock and Morgan took that climb and hike entirely too quickly. While I liked climbing the peak, the speed of the some 20 mile trip was less than enjoyable. It didn’t allow any group bonding. It seemed as though egos took over.
The best climb of the week was Siyeh because I was able to rejoin old hiking partners Wayne Phillips and Rick Reese, both approaching 68, who are in incredible condition. We took an exciting exploratory route down the west face, through some challenging cliff bands into a remote and wild valley north of Piegan Pass. About a third of the way down the face we intruded on a good size grizzly that quickly departed through the cliffs.
I never tire of the classic Glacier hikes and can do them over and over.
The only negative might have been car trouble at Swiftcurrent Inn when our car’s fuel pump went out and we had to be towed back to Great Falls.
But there was even a positive in that because the tow truck operator, Jim Hoyt, of Browning, was so interesting.
Now…..let’s see what’s next on my Glacier agenda.
Dan leading through Siyeh Pass
Kristin, son Gavin, and Dan above Ptarmigan Lake

Niece Lindsey Kotynski braves the ice (barefoot) at Iceberg Lake

1 comment:

Paul said...

A friend and I are contemplating the Morgan / McClintock duo next summer and wonder what you'd recommend as a time target for 2 seasoned hikers to bag those two peaks? We have several 20+ milers to our credit but each seems somewhat different so I'm interested in your input. Thaks also for the pictures!