Saturday, August 31, 2019

Glacier's heavenly Hole in the Wall

Our group starting out in the rain at Bowman Lake

One of our sunsets at Boulder Head  
Katie near Boulder Pass

Mount Kinnerly pokes up its head at Boulder Pass 
Dave and Sandi at Lake Francis

Looking toward the end of Bowman Lake

We saw plenty of signs that autumn is on its way
I visited Glacier Park's spectacular Hole in the Wall for the first time in 18 years, camping there nearly 30 years since my first trip there.
This northwestern part of Glacier drains a number of good-size glacier that cascade hundreds of feet in wispy and thunderous drops over cliffs.
Katie and I and Helena friends Dave and Sandi Ashley spent five days, including four nights, in this North Fork Flathead section of the park.
We approached the hike from Bowman Lake, camping the first and fourth nights at its head.
In past visits I've approached Hole in the Wall from Waterton Lake National Park in Canada.
You get a significantly different feel from the Bowman Lake approach.  Half the hike is in deep forest and brush, the other half in high alpine terrain.  I prefer the alpine.
At the beginning the weather was horrid and we hiked in light rain the first day, and gloom and sprinkles the second day until the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the trip.  We got thoroughly soaked both days.
The highlight of the trip was the high point, Boulder Pass at more than 7,400 feet, which gave us peeks at Kinnerly and Kintla peaks.  Kintla, one the six Glacier peaks over 10,000 feet was capped with new fallen snow from the precipitation, as was Mount Cleveland, the park's highest mountain in the distance to the east.
We reached that on Day 3 after a night at Hole in the Wall Campground, which is laced with waterfalls.  The trail to Boulder Pass is on high alpine ledges.
That same day we broke camp and descended from Brown's Pass to Lake Francis, where there is an isolated two-spot campground in the woods where we could see high waterfalls working their way down the massive cliffs into the lake.  I had camped here 30 years ago, but my memory tells me it was when there were camp spots right at the lake shore, not back and up in the woods.
We had an interesting night there when we were awakened by what we came to believe was an owl chasing some kind of critter that screeched and frightened us all.  We think the owl's wings slammed into our tent, but didn't knock it over.
The more than 1,000 feet of descent to Lake Francis from Brown's Pass featured more ripe huckleberries than any of us could eat.  The berries would explain why a couple of days earlier at Brown's Pass we spoke to hikers who had to use their bear spray when encountering bears.
Then, it was back to Bowman head and the campground.  On our first wet night we had been warned by a camping mother with three young boys that the mice had learned how to climb the food bag hanging ropes to get into food.  Unfortunately, we discovered first hand that what she said was true as mice had burrowed into our hang sack, ate through bags and left us mice droppings as a calling card.
Nonetheless, our second stay at Bowman head was dry, the night warm and the sunset spectacular.
On our fifth day we had a pleasant walk out along the lake and we were back at Polebridge a little after noon.
Although the weather turned nice, at Hole in the Wall we experienced a light frost.  Also, lots of ground cover had turned their falls colors.
Incidentally, this was the first backpack trip I had taken with Katie.
It worked out well.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Little Belts: Deer Point and Coyote peaks

Our long, grassy approach to Coyote Peak 
On Coyote peak looking toward Yogo and Baldy peaks

Annie Taylor found a tree with rocks in its branches and added some 
Near the trailhead a thunderhead was developing

I should know better by now.
During the summer it is tough to get me into the Little Belt Mountains with the Rocky Mountain Front and Continental Divide Trail country just as close with more dramatic scenery.
But when I am lured to the Little Belts I come away thinking that it is an amazing place full of wild-country adventures.
Such was the case on this week's Wayne's Wednesday Walks hike.
Wayne Phillips designed a 6.6 miles roundtrip hike that covered two peaks (Deer Point --- elevation: 8,150 feet, and Coyote Peak, elevaton: 7,990 feet)  and about 1,000 feet of gain and loss along lonely Trail No. 441.
This trailhead is reachable from a number of ways, but the easiest is from the Lone Grave turnoff at U.S. 89 (across from the Silvercrest winter sports recreation area) and driving up a pretty good dirt road (Road #3328) for about 5 miles as if you are going to the Big Baldy turnoff (Road #258 junction).  Instead of going to Big Baldy to the north, go south for a couple of miles.  The trailhead is not far past the better marked Hell Creek trailhead.
We started on what appears to be a trail that the Forest Service wants to discontinue because it has cut trees across most of the way.
A better trailhead (for the same destination) follows a good two track to a marked trailhead and the trail is lower, but parallels the old trail.  Both trails eventually come together below Deer Point.
These trails have been closed to motorcycles and are quiet and shaded.  There is a peace to hiking along them.
Both peaks break out into the open and offer grand views of Big Baldy and Yogo peaks and the vast Middle Fork of the Judith Wilderness Study Area to the east and below.  Deer Point has a rocky top, Coyote Peak is more scenic, reached through a large park of grass and wildflowers.  The long Kelly Mountain ridgeline comes into view from Coyote).
Although temperatures climbed into the mid-90s in Great Falls this day, we were at a relatively cool and comfortable 73 degrees, even out in the open.
Our route from Deer Point to Coyote peaks in the Little Belts

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Surprise! Falls Creek is open!

Falls Creek has numerous small waterfalls over broken limestone shelves

The Falls Creek valley looking toward the Continental Divide

One of the nicest falls on Falls Creek just a little than a mile from the trailhead
The flank of Bear Den Mountain

Dr. John Crowley does a knee deep crossing of Falls Creek
I was really at loose ends today as I tried to decide which hike I wanted to do.
After toying with a trip west of the Divide I settled on the Augusta area, checking out the conditions of the roads, some, like Elk Creek, which was washed out for the second straight year by Spring floods.
I decided I would go to the Forest Service Information Station and see what it had to offer.
But, the station was closed, so I checked out Elk Creek, and then headed to the Dearborn River access and to perhaps do the off-trail climb of Steamboat, and see what was going on with the construction of the new Falls Creek trail.
I started looking for any construction I could find as soon as I crossed the Falls Creek bridge.
About three-tenths of a mile beyond, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a sign in the back of a large, fenced field that looked like a parking lot.
I turned around and, sure enough, there was the new trail.
This is a big deal since the large and spectacularly wild Falls Creek Roadless Area was closed to the public about 13 years ago when the landowner, who had previously allowed access through a mile of his land, decided to deny access.
Countless times during those painful years I've driven by Falls Creek yearning to get back in.  This is an area that grants access to Table, Bear Den, Monitor, Twin Buttes and Caribou Peaks and the Continental Divide Trail while following a trail that follows a creek that cascades over broken limestone shelves.
The access was re-established by a land sale brokered by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, with participation by the Forest Service and Lewis and Clark County.
If you do this hike bring your water shoes.  There are two major crossings in the first 3.6 miles, the first about calf deep.
Because of the disuse over the past years the trail can be a tad tough to follow at first (tall grass has overgrown the beginning), but the further you hike, the better the trail becomes.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Our Lake to HQ with group of ten

At the high point.  That's Rocky Mountain Peak in the background

Katie on the way down to HQ Pass 
Looking down toward HQ Pass

The black bear that crossed our path below HQ
I've done this classic Our Lake to HQ Pass Front traverse many times, but never with as many hikers as we had for Wayne's Wednesday Walks this week.
In Wayne Phillips' absence, Steve Taylor led ten of us on this 8.3 miles, 2,800 feet gainer from one Front iconic spot to another, including a 8,600 feet unnamed peak and a challenging off-trail ascent and descent.
Taylor's route went from Our Lake on a good, but slightly exposed ramp I've used on previous traverses.  We didn't stop at the grassy saddle, opting instead for a leisurely lunch atop the unnamed limestone high point.
About half our group had never done this traverse and were thrilled by its challenge and the views of the lake and Big Baldy peak to the north and Rocky Mountain Peak to the south.  I was particularly gratified that my cousin, Mary Irene McCartney, from Owatonna, MN did this hike.  As a flatlander, she had never done an off-trail mountain-climb before.
I was disappointed that we failed to see any mountain goats at the lake or at the great basin below Rocky Mountain peak.  However, we were treated to a black bear who crossed our trail and despite being in close proximity appeared to be oblivious to our presence as he turned over rocks looking for insects.
It's still incredibly green from all the moisture we've gotten this year and the skies were relatively clear, increasingly rare as we've had annual big fire seasons.
We could very clearly see to the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Enjoying Lake O'Hara region in Canadian Rockies' Yoho National Park

Katie and me at McArthur Lake

My cousin Mary Irene McCartney captures Lake O'Hara from above

This was about the only wildlife we saw

Camille Consolvo works her way along the ledges above Lake O'Hara

I got to practice my Polish with these two Canadian emigres from Poland, Martin and Magda, now living in Vancouver
Katie shared with me one of her favorite places:  Yoho National Park's Lake O'Hara region in the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia this past week.
She has been there three times, which is unusual because it is a difficult place to get a reservation.
Realizing that there are environmentally fragile places, Parks Canada limits the access.
Katie had to call for five days to get us a three night reservation.  She used two phones and was assisted by four others who called on multiple phones.  At the park we heard the reservation horror stories of many others.
But once there you realize why there is such a great demand and why it needs protection.
The 9,000 feet-plus peaks, the numerous, large glaciers, the lakes with other-worldly deep blues and greens, the high mountain trail routes, the pristine nature of the place makes this an international destination.
The restrictions are so tight that once you reach the trailhead you unload your gear and get on a reserved bus and travel a bumpy road uphill for 11 kilometers to the campsite where you scramble for a choice spot.  There is a group gear and cooking area with public toilets.
The trailheads fan out from this spot.
This site sits above Lake O'Hara close by, a large deep emerald lake beneath Wiwaxy and Huber peaks and their glaciers.
Katie knows all the hikes in this area and favors MacArthur Lake, incredibly, larger than O'Hara, with its own peaks and glaciers and a hiking trail that climbs through cliffs that one must use hands on to climb.
Parks Canada staff reminds hikers to stay on trails to prevent erosion and any damage to the alpine turf that surrounds the lakes.
The trails, which lend themselves to loop hikes, are classified by signs that illustrate difficulty and include alpine routes with narrow ledges and steep drop-offs.  A well-conditioned hiker can traverse an entire cathedral-like basin on these alpine loops.
We were joined by my cousin Mary Irene McCartney of Owatonna, MN and Great Falls friends Mike Dannells and Camille Consolvo.
Katie had done the steep Wiwaxy Gap alpine route of 1,600 feet in 1.2 miles in the previous two years, but determined that it would be not worth our time because the rainy weather would have obscured our views.
We did a an alpine Oesa Lake route with several lakes and ledges that some of our party of five thought was the best hike they had ever taken.
One evening we also walked around Lake O'Hara.
The rain did dampen and shorten our trip.  The second night out it rained steadily and we decided to forgo a third night, opting to return to Great Falls.
Going through Canmore, the drive is 450 miles each way, a sizeable trip, but scenic all the way.
Katie said that she would like to do the Lodge or one of the cabins along O'Hara Lake some day, a pricey option.  Although that would be a First Class option with gourmet meals and special bus accommodations, it would cost about $1,000 per night!
I wasn't especially thrilled with the camping, where so many people are grouped into one spot sharing facilities, but I liked meeting people from so many foreign countries.
I guess I'm spoiled by Montana and expect to see wildlife, especially grizzlies for which this area is renowned and mountain goats, but alas, not a siting!
The Canadian Rockies are a World Heritage Site and the scenery is as good as anything I've seen in the Alps.
It reminded me that I should spend more time here, and if I had my life to live again, it would include many more trips here.
This trip reminded me that
Mike Dannells and Camille Consolvo are encouraged by Katie up ledges through a cliff to Lake McArthur

Monday, August 05, 2019

Honoring the 13 smokejumpers killed in Mann Gulch 70 years ago

Wayne Phillips waves a white flag in honor of the Miss Montana fire fighting plane

Miss Montana, which dropped the smoke jumpers 70 years ago, made several runs in their honor 
Peter Johnson walks past one of the spots where a smoke jumper died

A new fire at Flesher Pass is visible over the Sleeping Giant on our way out
Our Wayne's Wednesday Walks moved its weekly hike to Monday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Mann Gulch Disaster in the Helena National Forest where 13 Forest Service smoke jumpers died on Aug. 5, 1949.
We've hiked in here several other times using Norman MacLean's "Young Men and Fire," that dissects the fire like a detective story.  The puzzle is how and where did two of the smoke jumpers climb to a ridge and through a cliff to safety while the others died.
The fire is famous not only as the worst smoke jumper tragedy up to that date, but also for the innovation by Wag Dodge, the fire boss, who back-lit a fire in the grass and stepped into the char, covered his face with a wet hankie and escaped death as the fire, having no fuel, jumped over him.  Despite his urging, the fire fighters refused to get into that safety zone and died.  His back-lighting is now standard forest fire fighting practice.
We waited in a saddle above where the smoke jumpers were dropped by an airplane now called the Miss Montana.  As part of a commemoration ceremony at the Meriwether Picnic Area in the Gates of the Mountains, the plane flew four times up and down the gulch as it had that fateful day. 
Gordon Whirry and I had scurried up a high point to the north and were amazed as the plane flew below us and and circled around beneath the nose of the Sleeping Giant and the Horseshoe Bend in the Missouri on its way to the gulch.
We were surprised by how few others hiked to this spot on this day.
There were about a dozen other hikers on a day that began cool and even spit some rain, but warmed up substantially into the 90s as we hiked out.
We used a great hunter's trail and some reckoning rather than the standard Jim Phillips Memorial Trail off Willow Creek Road on the Beartooth Game Range.  It cut off substantial distance and crossing Willow Creek wasn't difficult, but got one of my shoes wet.
Just as I was remarking to the others how blue and smokeless the sky was a wildfire blew up in the Flesher Pass area blowing smoke into the Holter Lake area.
Appropriate for such a day.
Part of our commemoration was an (Indian) sage grass smudge conducted by Wayne Phillips at the drop site.
Wayne also carried a large, white flag up and waved it as the plane flew by and as a guide to the spotter plane testing the route before Miss Montana made her run.
We went to the cliffs where Robert Sallee and Walt Rumsey had scurried to safety and Wayne told us that he had back-measured from the spot where one of the others who made it through the cliffs, but was burned below.  A cross and monument mark the spot.  He felt confident that he had located the spot in the dark-brown cliffs where the smoke jumpers had gotten to safety.
I had interviewed Sallee and Rumsey 40 years ago for the Great Falls Tribune on the fire's 30th anniversary, as well as Norman MacLean, who had brought them together to investigate how they got through the cliffs for his seminal book.
My, 40 years just flew by.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

High season in Glacier; thoughts on East Glacier Park

Bull moose in Fishercap Lake near Many Glacier has "deer" company

Alpine glow over Two Med's Mount Henry

Magenta Indian Paintbrush wildflowers in Preston Park

Our group in the beargrass below Siyeh Pass
We enjoyed a family trip to Glacier Park over a four day period, retracing old hikes, this time to include some Kansas in-laws of Katie's daughter, Beth.
Mark and Marcus Pruett, from Holton, KS, did so well I revoked their "Flatlander credentials."
I took them up Scenic Point and to Upper Two Med Lake in Two Medicine and then on the Siyeh Pass to Sunrift Gorge traverse off Going to the Sun Road.  On a separate day I threw in a walk around Two Med Lake.  We also did an evening trip to Many Glacier after the hikers had cleared out for the day.
I saw moose at Upper Two Med Lake, Fishercap Lake, and on the trail while circling Two Med Lake.  There were grizzly and black bears at various spots as well.
Most notably the wildflowers were outrageously copious and colorful.
We caught Preston Park below Mount Siyeh at its seasonal best with magenta Paintbrush, asters, buckwheat, beargrass, and much more.
Two days later I retraced the route, only this time in reverse and by myself.  It had been years since I had done this hike by starting at Sun Rift.  It is a bit more taxing doing it this way;  it is 3,600 feet elevation gain to the top, and 2,300 feet down to the Siyeh Bend.  You can see how the reverse would have been easier uphill.  I thought it better for me to gain more elevation and lose less because I've got a knee that acts up on steep downhill and two days earlier it gave me problems descending 3,600 feet.

East Glacier Park concerns

Of concern is a transitioning East Glacier Park, the charming village at the base of the Two Med Valley.  The Blackfeet tribe, on whose reservation it resides, has done a great job keeping it free of the franchise and commercial rot that infects the west side of the park.
However, there are some unsettling developments since the death of Terry Sherburne, the late owner of the Mountain Pine Motel (our favorite) nearly two years ago. The motel is being ably run by his nephew, but Terry and Doris, his mother who died not long after, were irreplaceable as community unifiers. First off, motel rates have spiked upward nearly putting them out of reach for us locals.  Kayak lists the average price for a motel is $220 per night, although Mountain Pine, Jacobson's and Sears are far less, but still expensive. Then Linda Chase tore down the old Whistle Stop Restaurant and the rebuild has been slower than she expected, leaving the town with one less place to eat.  She hopes to have it open the the final month of tourism season.  The Sears Motel, which has been in bad shape, sold and continues to decline.  Serrano's Mexican Restaurant also sold and the menu prices increased and offerings changed.  The large restaurant on Highway 2, formerly the Village Inn, simply did not open this year, placing additional pressure on the remaining eateries.  Brownie's and the Whistle Stop are no longer owned by the same owner.  Brownie's is now owned by Terry Chase, Linda Chase's step-son.   There seems to be fewer Rez dogs and no dominant dog like Fat Boy, the Cerulean Bear Dog, who died a number of years ago.
On the positive side there's still the Glacier Park Lodge, the elegant resort with expensive rooms, but excellent dining facilities. (Hint:  cheaper to eat in the lounge than dining room and the food is the same).
You can't go wrong at the Two Med Grille if you're looking for local flavor at a traditional diner.  It serves "Pies for Strength," the double butter crust specialties developed by the former owners of the St. Mary Park Cafe, and now baked at the excellent Rock and Roll Bakery down the street from the General Mercantile that also carries the baked goods and pastries.
I suppose I'm mourning the passing of characters like Sherburne and his mother and the sale of Serrano's and will have to get used to the change.  When I feared what happened to the Park Cafe a number of years ago when it sold in St. Mary  it brought those wonderful pies to East Glacier.  I eagerly await the reopening of the new and expanded Whistle Stop.
I pray that the charm of this funky place is not lost.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Father Time takes his toll: Lockhart Traverse

On the Lockhart Traverse ridge line

Mark surveys what he plans to climb

On the way up

Mark opts against climbing Lockhart for a rest instead

It had been10 years since I last did the Lockhart Traverse ---- the knife-ridge walk between Lockhart and Teton peaks above the North and South Forks of Waldron Creek in the Rocky Mountain Front.
I can't say I did it Monday, but I did gitve it a try.
I'm finding the difference between being 61 and 71-years-old is pronounced on the aging downside.
We had a stunning summer day with light winds, temperatures in the 60s and a cloudless sky for this hike along an 8,000 feet ridge.
I just wasn't up to the task.
We thrashed our way up the North Fork of Waldron Creek to the bowl below the ridge.  This "trail" is nearly impossible to find and follow beyond a mile.  We had as much trouble locating it coming down as going up.  Nature has almost thoroughly reclaimed this area whose old growth timber was cleared away by a logging sale.  Massive trees and dense vegetation block the hiker and make path finding nearly impossible.  By the end of the day my sore knees had trouble clearing the enormous windfalls.
When it came time to summit Mount Lockhart I quite about 100 feet from the top, feeling that I had been there and done that, and not wanting to subject myself to the Class 4 scramble.
We spent plenty of time in that area, probably dooming any plan to walk the entire traverse to Teton Peak.
After doing the ridge line above the North Fork bowl, we decided to call it quits and bailed off one of the unnamed peaks.  Our bushwhack to the bottom was quite precariously steep, made possible by the trees we used to arrest hurtling to the bottom.
I'm pretty sure this was my last time to this spectacular ridge line.
The red is our route Monday; the fushia is the full traverse; the yellow is the high ridge line

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Mount Wright on a blustery July 19

Various views from the Mount Wright summit
We've had an exceptionally wet and cold summer so far.
I'll take that over heat and smoke from forest fires any day.
I'm late this year doing my annual Mount Wright (8,875 feet) climb.  It's one of the biggest mountains on the Front, but is easy to climb because of a great trail from the West Fork of the Teton.  It goes up a little more than 3,400 feet over 3.6 miles.
I've always said it has the best views in the Rocky Mountain Front --- across the Bob to the Swan Range, north to Glacier Park, south to the Scapegoat, and east across the high peaks of the Front and the Great Plains beyond, including Island Ranges like the Highwoods and Sweetgrass Hills.
I climb it annually to gauge what kind of shape I'm in.  I'm three weeks late this year because I was so sick and because the month of June was eaten up by our trip to Spain.  I had tried to climb it two weeks ago, but got distracted when a Glacier Mountaineering Society group showed up at the trailhead and persuaded me to accompany them on the Washboard Reef Traverse instead.
The wind was blowing pretty hard and it was cold.
When I reached the halfway point --- at a grassy saddle --- I started to assess ways to bail, thinking it might be dangerous on top.
Then, the sun cleared the shadows away and off I went.
I stayed as much below the ridgeline as I could when I hit the summit cap to avoid the wind gusts.
I had to put on two additional layers of clothes because of the cold.
Gosh, what a July!
I didn't stay long on top, but still got my breath-taking views I love so much.
There were still quite a few alpine Forget-Me-Not flowers on top, and one lonely Jones columbine.  Along the trail there was a great showing of various vetch, blanket flowers, and a single blooming hollyhock.
I was not surprised on my descent to see my old friend Bill Cunningham climbing up.  Bill was solo, a credit to his 75 years of age.
What a treat!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A climb for the "Forgotten Five"

Me on top Forgotten Five Peak (Gordon Whirry photo) 
Gordon Whirry enjoys views from the saddle

Walking the limestone knife-ridge 
Our descent above the 1931 Waldron burn

What we'd like to call "Forgotten Five Peak" in honor of the five firefighters killed in the 1931 fire

Our old guys hiking group, Wayne's Wild Wednesday Walks, has a decidedly Forest Service- firefighters bias with two of our members in that corps while in college.

We've been to Mann Gulch in the Gates of the Mountains country several times with Norman Maclean's "Young Men and Fire" in hand trying to figure out how several of the ill-fated smokejumpers in that Aug. 5, 1949 fire escaped death by running up hill through a break in the ridge to the other side. Thirteen died in that fire.

On Wednesday, with Charles Palmer's "Montana's Waldron Creek Fire," in our pack we explored the South Fork Waldron country near the Teton Pass Ski Area to understand how five firefighters died there Aug. 25, 1931.

While the Mann Gulch Fire is famous, the Waldron Creek fire is virtually forgotten.

Palmer has tried to put that right with his 2015 book that humanizes the tragedy and reveals the Forest Service liability for the deaths of these men who were blamed for their own deaths.

Palmer has seen to it that three of the men have new grave markers, found a fourth grave marker and has ascertained a fifth member is buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in the Chicago area.

Essentially, while the fire boss was attending to some other task, five firefighters broke off and ran downhill from a group of 25 others to attempt to put out what they thought was another spot fire and got trapped as it blew up and consumed them in this remote Teton Peak valley.

The five who died were: Charles Allen of Pittsburgh, PA; Herbert Novotny, 20, of Great Falls, MT; Harry Gunnerson (or Gunderson), 34, of Great Falls, MT; Ted Bierchen, 43, of Great Falls, MT; Frank Williamson, 24, of Great Falls, MT.  We stopped at the Choteau Cemetery and found the Gunnerson and Allen grave markers  that Palmer had provided.
The Gunnerson and Allen grave markers in the Choteau Cemetery 

Williamson grave in Great Falls Highland Cemetery 
Novotny grave in Great Falls' Highland Cemetery

While the Mann Gulch Fire is memorialized with markers where the jumpers fell, there's nothing in this South Fork drainage to indicate the 1931 tragedy.

Palmer has put up a cairn, which we looked for and could not find in this vast watershed that was burned in 1917 and 1931 and then logged. There is plentiful evidence of all those things.

To find the area drive the Teton Canyon road that leads to the ski area and about a mile before you get there there's a marked Trail 193 that rises and falls in just a little over a three-quarters of a-mile to the South Fork where snowmobilers have constructed a make-shift bridge of lodgepoles over the creek. About 100 steps beyond the creek to the left there's evidence of small trail. It appears to be an old Forest Service or outfitters' trail marked by cut logs. We followed this up for about a half-mile and then cut over to the ridge line to the east and the ascended this ridge on a manageable angle. Then, it was a simple walk along the ridge to a saddle above the valley. We climbed the small peak to the east and larger peak, the high point, at 7,853 feet to the west.

We hiked 2.5 miles and gained about 2,200 feet to gain the peak. Along the way on the ridge we encountered sink holes that looked like they could be cave entry-points.

Along the ridgeline the views became more impressive the higher up we climbed. Here you are in the heart of the world class scenery of the Rocky Mountain Front with views of Mounts Wright, Lockhart and Choteau peaks dominant. It was breath-taking to attain the saddle as the Bob Marshall Wilderness high point, Rocky Mountain Peak, Old Baldy and Ear mountains became visible.

It was only 160 feet to the top from the saddle along a broken knife ridge of sharp limestone.

It appears as though others had been there before us as there was a rock pile on top. We added a cairn of five stones to commemorate the fallen fire fighters.

We all agreed that for the amount of effort, 5 miles round trip and 2,300 feet of elevation gain and loss, we had received a lot of bang for our effort.

In addition, we had spent the day contemplating the sacrifice of these men during the Great Depression.

Like Palmer, we had a hard time trying to figure out what really went on or where the men had fallen.

We agreed with him that they were truly forgotten and wondered if it might be appropriate to name this peak in their honor as something like, "Forgotten Five Peak," perhaps putting a plaque on top with their names and a description of the fire.

I think it would be appropriate.
Our route is in the red