Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mixes Baldy, Clendennin mountains in Little Belts

The approach on Mixes Baldy was like walking the Continental Divide Trail near Rogers Pass

Descending to saddle between Mixes Baldy and Clendennin mountains

Katie Kotynski marks Clendennin Mountain summit
The Little Belts are like Rodney Dangerfield ---- they don't seem to get the respect they deserve.
That was underscored again Wednesday when our Wayne's Wednesday Wild Walks group of senior hikers walked the Mixes Baldy (elevation: 7,959 feet) -Clendennin (elevation: 7,808 feet) mountains' ridgeline in the Little Belts off Lonepine Road south of Glacier.
The mountains in the Little Belts appear to be low-slung with a 9,000 feet timber line that rarely exposes craggy peaks and tree lines.
Where we climbed ---- basically above the former Barker-Hughesville Mining District east of Monarch ---- the peaks are high and exposed (because of the talus slopes) and ridge-walking with amazing vistas possible.
We counted 16 mountain ranges in view from Clendennin, looking as far east as the Little Rockies and as far north as the Sweetgrass Hills on the Canadian border.
The Little Belts peaks surrounded us ---- Barker, Anderson, Wolf Butte, Taylor, Granite, Peterson, Butcherknife, and the 9,000 feet + , snow-glazed Big Baldy.
The hike Wednesday was inspired by last week's climb of Mount Barker.
On top we were looking directly at Mixes Baldy with its pointed top.
We had to get it.
Wayne Phillips designed a loop hike that approached Mixes Baldy from the south.  We 800 feet to a broad saddle, and then climbed about 650 feet to the top of Clendennin. We went back to the saddle and down a ridgeline to the road and back.   Our cumulative elevation gain was 2,802 feet over 6.5 miles.
This area has a rich mining history, and it was fun to have Neihart Mayor Steve Taylor along with us to tease us with that history as well as its geology.
Steve Taylor examines mining equipment below Mixes Baldy
I think we in Great Falls often fail to appreciate this history, as well as the great scenery at our doorstep.
We encountered mining detritus and debris at the saddle, and could look down on Hughesville/Barker.
I had done these mountains some 10 years ago, walking the ridgeline from Peterson peak. This Lonepine Road, only a mile east of Geyser, is in terrific shape and climbable mountains line both sides of this scenic road.
The weather Wednesday was as perfect as late October weather could be.

For an elevation chart, route on a topo map and more photos:   Click here

1 comment:

Dave Van Nice said...

Well done! Very Interesting Tom.