Monday, October 24, 2016

Doing Ear Mountain most directly

On our way up the northeast ridge line

Mary Stelling braces herself against the wind

The Ear Mountain cliffs just above us
I wanted to get on record the easy way to climb Ear Mountain.  Well, okay, a somewhat easy way.  This involves going to the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks parking area off the Bellview Road northwest of Choteau, accessed from the Teton River Road.
There's a good parking area and a gate across what used to be a road.  Get on the road and follow it until it crosses a small drainage (you'll see the steel culvert). This is a wood cutting area.  Start up the ridge and follow it to the base of the cliffs.  This is on the norheast side of the mountain.
This is as far as we went last week with our Wayne's Wednesday Group hikers because the wind was blowing so hard we thought it risky to go any further.
We went 3 miles up and gained 2,700 feet.
If doing the full climb, at the cliff base there is a great, but narrow goat trail that goes across the face of the mountain to a very obvious saddle to the west.  Carefully follow it to that point where the trail becomes more pronounced and goes to the back of the mountain.  Follow that good trail in the scree to where it stops at a large and steep gully full of talus.  This is the way up.  Follow it through the cliffs, about 200 feet of elevation, and it is an easy walk to this mountain's high point.
In years past the most popular way of climbing this mountain is from the BLM trailhead off the South Fork Teton Road. This involves lots of up and down and across the Yeager Flats.
The way I described is much simpler and direct.

Here is a topo of the route and more photos:  CLICK HERE

H. Wayne Phillips with Metis (Earwax) Mountain in background 
Descending the ridge line 
The group encounters snow

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