Thursday, January 22, 2015

Exploring back side of Porphyry Peak (west side)

Forest Service Road 6413 groomed for snowmobilers made a nice cross country track for me
The warm weather has me climbing the walls as I helplessly watch all this good snow melt or get glazed by the wind.
I heard that there had been 5 inches of new powder at Showdown, so I headed in that direction Wednesday before it all disappeared.
I was amazed that the temperature was only 8 degrees near Kings Hill Pass and was 13 degrees when I put my skis on for this trip.
I was curious about Forest Service Trail 747, a relatively new trail that connects the Porphyry ridge road/trail 830 to Forest Service Road 6413 above Moose Creek in the Little Belts.
Because of my ineptitude in trail-finding, this became a loop trip.
From the pass I dropped down the Showdown Ski Area black diamond Yogo Headwall and then climbed up 1,100 feet to reach the top of Porphyry Peak at 8,219 feet.  I left the ski area here and went .8 miles along the Porphyry divide where a trail sign for Trail 747 appeared.
Trouble was, I couldn't locate the trail.  There were no slashes on the trees and no obvious clearings indicating a path.
My instinct took me straight down some 500 feet through pretty thick timber, where I encountered forks of Jumping Creek --- and I knew I was off course.  I climbed back and contoured to the north and east and finally hit the road, a nicely groomed snowmobile trail.  I skied the courderoy for about a mile and found a trail sign for the bottom of Trail 247.
At this point I noticed the trail was marked by yellow tape tied around the trunks of the trees.

Yellow tape, not slash marks, marked FS Trail 747 on the west side of Porphyry
The trail followed a ridgeline up and gently contoured to where I had found it on Porphyry ridge.
I went back in the opposite direction, eventually hooking up with the ski hill and used Golden Goose and then Meadows runs to get back to the lodge.
I climbed back up to Kings Hill Pass and my day was complete:  7 miles and 1,900 feet of elevation gain!
Telemark opportunities:  not much if you don't like thick trees.

Want to read more and see a topo map of this area?  Click here

My pack and skis on a lunch break.

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