Sunday, September 26, 2010

Headquarters Pass to Our Lake Traverse

Jim Heckel and Tom Moore on traverse
The Headquarters Pass to Our Lake Traverse in the Rocky Mountain Front is always a great hike, but this Sunday's version was better than most.
For one, we hit it at the height of the fall alpine color.
The sky was mostly blue, making that color pop, even if we had to fend out gusty winds.
We saw mountain goats.
We now have a new traverse route, I'll call the Tom Moore option.
Jim Heckel, whose injured arm has made hiking tentative for the past two months, came through this flawlessly and strongly.
This is a two-for-one traverse. It combines the Headquarters Pass and Our Lake hikes with a traverse that heads north up a ridgeline from the pass to a high saddle above the lake.
It was here that Tom Moore, on his first time in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, wanted to look around and suggested we try a different gully down to the lake than is standard.
The standard route goes down a gully to the northeast.
Tom's looksee suggested a route down a second gully more to the west.
We followed it down and presented no real problem other than a few sketchy moments of sidehilling.
I thought it a superior descent to the standard route.
As we approached the lake Tom spotted a big goat scurrying along its west shoreline, then heading up a precipitous scree slope where it found a high bed from which to safely view us.
We took the north shore and spotted three more goats, two of which were grazing in the scree and the other near the ridgeline.
Then, it was down and out.

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