Sunday, May 03, 2015

A Wind Mountain tune-up

View from top of Wind Mountain north to Choteau Peak

Attaining the summit

Coming down the scree slopes above South Fork Teton

Me on top looking northwest above Teton River
Wind Mountain at 6,900 feet is a small, yet prominent mountain on the Front that splits the South Fork and main Teton River.
It is pointed at some of the most startlingly beautiful peaksin the Front, such as Big Baldy, Rocky, Cave, Ear, Choteau and Lockhart, to name a few.  It offers great views of the Plains to the east.
Climbing it is somewhat challenging because its summit cap is blocked on all sides by high cliffs with few chinks to attain the top.
Yet, it is a quick way to see beautiful high country quickly.
I've climbed this a number of times and each time has been satisfying.
We went up on a gorgeous spring day Saturday, and if it weren't for the ever-present ticks, it would have been a perfect climb.
Our route, and about the only route I think possible without rope, is from the South Fork Teton about a mile beyond the Forest Service boundary sign.
There is a broad saddle below a west-facing ridge up the mountain. Aim for that on one of the several ridges that run to it. It is an ascent of about 950 feet.
Once there, the key is staying as close to the sharp ridgeline as possible on the way up the final 750 feet.
When blocked, I move to my left (north), and find routes.
At the summit cap itself, it's a matter of going to the base, where there's a good trail traveling south, and at the end of the cap ascending to the north.
I've seen mountain goats from the summit, but not this time.
However, we had a very sunny, blue-sky day with tremendous visibility.
The high mountains were particularly handsome because they are snow-capped.
Below us were breath-taking views of the large cliffs adjacent to Bear Creek.
Coming down, once we had gotten through the cliffs we stayed in soft, but steep scree for most of the descent.
We didn't see much in the way of wildflowers as I had earlier in the week, just an outcropping of Douglasia.
Once down, we drove to the end of the road where there's a trailhead for the Our Lake and Headquarters Pass hikes, and we stopped for a view of Mill Falls at the tiny, adjacent campground.
Wind Mountain from the car

Big Baldy still has plenty of snow

Mill Falls 

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