Friday, January 25, 2013

Glacier Country

Since I don't have a job right now and have been getting out skiing in the mountains in Montanas Flathead and Glacier Park areas, I figure why not start doing some blogging to kill some time and show off the new terrain we have been exploring. 

Its been a week since the remaining skier boyz and snowboarder girl went back to the Wasatch. That left Gae and I feeling pretty lonesome in a new town where the only people we know are each other and our roommate, Lisa.  On Gaelens first day off, we went touring with each other. It didn't take long for us to realize that we have just made a great move and are incredibly lucky to be living in such a beautiful area. The mountains surrounding us in Glacier National Park are breath taking and the options where to go are endless.

I had been out on a handful of tours, seeing jaw dropping lines on gigantic mountains, but a summit had been eluding me. I had skinned thousands of vertical feet feeling satisfied with our efforts and decisions, but I wanted to stand on top. This finally happened last week! I went out with my new buddy and solid skier Dan Koestler and we went for Sheep Mt (8569 ft) in the southern part of Glacier Park.

Dan enjoying the sunrise and the mellow skinning 
Leaving our car at 7 a.m., we skinned along the train tracks for about half a mile, having the frightening experience of how close those suckers get, then scooted up the trailhead for three miles. Half of which we could rip skins and ski down the trail.
Soldier Mt. in the Background
From the Ole Creek we crossed easily and began the long climb, 4500 feet to the summit of Sheep mt. The weather was perfect, calm and clear and the sun was beginning to brighten the horizon. The skinning was straight forward and easy, we actually followed a track someone broke sometime last week.
High winds on summit ridge
When we got above the trees, around 7500 feet, the winds we trying to rip right through our gore tex, but the summit was in sight. We added some layers, put on our helmets and goggles and pushed forward. I had to stop before reaching the summit because the wind was piercing through my gapper gap and I got a alpine ice cream headache.

Kid is psyched to get on top a summit

It was all worth the cold effort to stand on top of this summit in Glacier Park. The 360 degrees views from the summit highlighted some potential for mega ski descents. All I can say is you Boyz better be visiting. We decided that we would drop down the west ridge because it looked like more exciting ski options. We didn't know and that was cool. We knew that it was going to bring us into the same drainage we began climbing and that was enough assurance.

Dan descending the west ridge with St. Nick and Stimson in the background
It felt like skiing off the summit of Mt Hood
The conditions off the summit were firm and smooth, good for big mountain descents. We did a little walking over a scoured section and onto a saddle where some softer snow was found.

Looking back up at our ascent (right ridge) and descent route (west ridge)

Dan Skiing through the lower cliff section
good exposure here

We found a way through the lower section of cliffs
The adventure of skiing into the unknown
The best part of skiing new terrain is the unknown you got below you. Our mellow descent route began to steepen and it was obvious we were skiing above some big cliffs. WIth confidence Dan continued down and found his way through a cool amphitheater of cliffs. This took us to an open bowl, 2,00o feet of low angle cream in the trees and we landed on a trail. I couldn't believe we nailed the loop so perfectly.

I guess I will get used to seeing this sight when touring in the Park

Gaelens first time ice climbing
Lake Koocanusa
= Jakems

1 comment:

  1. Blogging your ski adventures is a perfect idea. This can definitely inspire some people to experience the adrenaline and fun, just like what you have experienced.