Monday, February 13, 2017

Rodgers Peak in wind and wind crust

Being blown around on top of Rodgers Peak on CDT

Taking shelter 
Coming off the top

Near the trailhead
Montana is a land of such extremes.
First, too little snow.  Now too much in the Front and Glacier back country.
I've been out three times in the last week, twice up to Rodgers Peak on the Continental Trail above Rogers Pass outside Lincoln, and once up to the Mizpah area south of Showdown.
I've been bucking lots of snow after some parts of the Front got over 5 FEET in three days about a week ago.
The Rogers Pass area didn't get near that amount, but there is enough up there to make breaking trail difficult.
Last Wednesday I skied the the trail and found great snow in which I could telemark, making the trip particularly fun.
Then I went back again Saturday, this time with to lead a Montana Wilderness Assocation Winter Walk of 11 snowshoers.
Between Wednesday and Saturday we got a massive chinook that melted the snow in Great Falls and hardened the snow at Rogers Pass.
My ski tracks were still there, but they weren't much help on the heavy wind crust on the trail.  I'm afraid our showshoers sank a foot or more with each step much of the way.
When we got to the top it was windblown and the wind was howling at more than 50 miles an hour, enough to make the top a short, cold stop.
We got nice views along the CDT and an occasional view of Red Mountain and Caribou Peak and the Front.
The sun came out and once we got back in the trees our trip down was quite pleasant.
We'll need more snow if this trail is to be enjoyed on skis later in the season!
As a side note:  Skiing is one heck of a lot easier than snow shoeing.

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