Tag Archives: landscape
Last Saturday I broke a long standing family tradition. I climbed a peak in the Bridger Range on the first day. Collectively, my family and I have been turned back on Sacajawea and other peaks in the Bridger Range every single time we have tried to climb them. We have been faced with three foot snow storms in the middle of May, heavy gusting snow and wind at the end of August, and other environmental conditions that have forced us to turn back from every single first attempt we have made. At the end of September, I finally broke this streak and bagged Ross Peak on the first try.
View Ross Peak in a larger map
Ross Peak sits in the middle of the Bridger range, tying together Sacajawea, Naya Nuki, and the northern Bridgers with Saddle, Baldy, and Bridger in the south. It rises up from Ross Pass, a windswept clearing to the south of the peak. A well-worn and wide trail winds its way up to the path and abruptly ends. A narrow goat path winds it’s way up towards an abrupt rock wall. Ross Peak hides behind several rocky false summits. It’s a very intimidating sight to those without vertical climbing gear.
As it turns out, there are several rock-filled couloirs that lead to the top of Ross Peak. It’s a long slog up the constantly sliding slope of small rocks to the top, but it’s well worth it. There are a large number of different routes through the couloirs and towers at the top, some much more challenging and exposed than others. I was able to string together a zig-zaggy route up through the rocks that minimized the exposure and risk.
The view from the final summit is impressive as the Bridger Range rises up on either side and Bozeman sprawls out to the west.
All told this hike was a little more than 7 miles. Much more manageable than my marathon Hyalite Peak climb from the previous weekend.
Check out the gallery below for all of my shots and to order prints and cards. Also, don’t forget, my 2013 Landscape Calendar is available for pre-order at a reduced price for the next three weeks. I just recently got a sample calendar in and it looks great.
The excellent adventure/writing blog Semi-Rad recently published an article titled “I Don’t Like It, But I Love It: The Long Day“. The author, Brendan Leonard. describes a rock climbing trip with a surprisingly long hike out. The article goes on to describe something called Type 2 Fun. Things are aren’t fun but they are. This is a theory that I definitely subscribe to and one that I got to experience firsthand last Saturday.
I set out with two friends from the Hyalite Creek trailhead at around noon. Our goal was 10,300′ Hyalite Peak. We were loaded down with overnight and camera gear, planning on spending the night at Hyalite Lake. We ascended the 5.5 mile Hyalite Creek trail rapidly, ascending through the forest and gradually entering higher terrain, our travel marked by shrinking trees and remarkably yellow alpine shrubbery.
We reached Hyalite Lake around 3pm and set up our camp on the shore of the lake. Shedding my overnight gear lightened my pack substantially and we blazed our way up the remaining 2 miles to the summit.
The view from the summit was supposed to cover Blackmore Peak, Yellowstone National Park, the Paradise Valley, Hyalite Reservoir, and Bozeman. It’s still quite smoky, however, and the summit of Hyalite is about as close to the Millie Fire as it is legally possible to get. We could see down into the basin that surrounds Hyalite Lake and a little sliver of the Paradise Valley. Still worth it and a very cool place to hang out for a little bit.
After scrambling our way down the summit ridge and bowl, we cooked dinner at our campsite and then sat around. I’m not quite sure who brought it up first, but gradually we began to decide that we wanted to hike out that night. It would make for a 16 mile day with overnight packs and almost 4000′ of vertical gain. We hit the trail back down towards the trailhead at 7:30 and were hiking in the pitch black by 8:30. Covering the 5.5 miles back to the car in a hair under 2 hours, we got to the parking lot at about 9:20PM. My GPS read 16.5 miles total trip distance and my feet felt like numb, bloody stumps. I would never call any part of the two hours spent stumbling and tripped our way back by the dim headlamp beam fun, but having covered 16.5 miles to the summit of a remote 10,000′ peak and back in an extended afternoon was a blast. Definitely the definition of Type 2 Fun.
View Hyalite Peak in a larger map
Check out the gallery below for more shots, and don’t forget that my 2013 Landscape Calendars are on presale discount until October 31st!
Last weekend, Ben Jacobsen and I drove overnight (I left Cape Cod at 9:45) and headed up to the Mt. Washington Auto Road for sunrise. Three times per summer the Auto Road opens their gates well before dawn to allow customers to reach the summit before sunrise. Ben and I were waiting at the gate at 3:45AM and reached the summit by 4:30.
I’ve hiked Mt. Washington a bunch and every time I’ve reached the top I’ve scoffed at the parking lots and people milling around and taking pictures at the summit sign. I saw no reason to drive up the mountain. I was actually really impressed with the road and had a blast driving up. The road is visually stunning and quite exciting to drive. For over a mile we were driving through the clouds with only the occasional glimpse down the mountainside to remind us how steep the dropoffs were.
The sunrise at the summit was quite underwhelming. The mountain was in and out of a batch of east-to-west moving clouds for most of the morning and any sunrise light that may have occured was blocked by the clouds. The undercast was pretty impressive, however, and it was nice to be up on the summit for the start of the day.
After the sunrise, Ben and I parked the car about a mile down the road and hiked out into the Alpine Garden and over the tops of Huntington and Tuckerman Ravines.
By the time we got to the bottom of the road, it was barely 9:00, so we spent an hour or so exploring Sabbaday Falls. The falls are actually quite large and there are a bunch of different compositions and viewpoints to explore. The water was piercingly cold but I had tons of fun climbing around the falls getting different shots.
Check out the rest of the photos in the gallery below.