Monday, August 08, 2011

Corrugate Ridge exploratory

Fireweed was in full bloom

Corrugate Reef, one of my favorite places in the Bob

The high point on my ridge walk
Corrugate Ridge is tough to reach, no matter how you approach it.
This reef in the Rocky Mountain Front/Bob Marshall Wilderness Area in the Teton country is traditionally reached via a 6-mile trail hike up the North Fork Teton/Bruce Creek where the climb commences. I've heard fellow hikers describe this as a 19 mile day, although I've never confirmed it.
On Monday I set out to reach the Corrugate Ridge off-trail and more quickly, and I think I've found a way, albeit off-trail and in spots sort of hairy.
With a little refinement I can see a fine hike that would traverse Mount Wright enroute.
The Mountain Hollyhock, which shows up after fire is my flower of the day.
ThMy route Monday turned out to be a grand tour of the Wright Creek Basin.
I started at the Mount Wright Trailhead, walked just beyond where Olney Creek comes in, passed the first drainage and plunged into the burned timber, attaining a nice, grassy ridgeline that I took to the head of the drainage.  Mount Wright rose to the east of this low ridge.
With a little doing, I crossed the head and got onto the ridgeline that led to the Corrugate Ridge.
I was standing atop the ridge in less than three hours.
Instead of proceeding north and eventually into Bruce Creek I followed the high ridgeline, climbing the high points along the way, including the very highest peak, 8,461 feet in elevation.
The top is a limestone knife-ridge, much like Mount Lockhart, and looks very similar to that mountain.
I had to carefully work my way across this knife-ridge of jumbled limestone and descend steeply.
I made a strategic mistake, dropping too soon off this ridge and heading at the first opportunity down a ridgeline and saddle to the east.
It cost me a my favorite pair of hiking pants because I had to drop to my butt and scoot my way down an extremely steep rock ridge.  The sharp rock tore out the seat of my pants.
Had I simply followed the ridge down I would have reached the trail above a dry fork of Wright Creek.
This would make a quick way up.
Then it was a simple walk back down the trail to my car.
On top I could see across the Bob and all the way to Glacier, where I could pick out various peaks I had climbed there.
This is extremely wild country that had been raked by the 2007 Fool Creek Fire, although the fire had jumped around, leaving lush forest in spots.
Where there was fire the forest floor was packed with vegetation and flowers amid the silver dead (fire ghosts) trees.
There was fireweed everywhere and mountain hollyhock in many spots.
This is an area where fire may have enhanced the scenery.

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