Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bitterroot Mts.- Blodgett Canyon, Shoshone Spire 5.9

Standing on top of Shoshone Spire,
looking at the SW Arete of Nez Perce
During the soggy month of September in Whitefish, MT Gaelen and I were contemplating our relocation to the North. We hadn't climbed for two weeks and it was looking like the weather was going to skip the Fall season and go right into Winter. I love Winter, but not if I don't get to enjoy the best season for rock climbing, usually, first. Luckily for us Fall did show up and we got back on the rocks as much as possible knowing that each day could be our last.

The highlight that month was climbing in the Bitterrotts, south of Missoula. In three days we climbed Mill Creek, Kotenai Canyon and Blodgett Canyon. Blodgett is amazing! The access to longer climbs is awesome. Once at the trailhead 1000 foot spires rise vertically on the north side of the canyon, guaranteeing Southern exposure early and late season. You can hike from one mile to four miles to get to the base of the Drip Buttress, The Prow, Nez Perce, Shoshone Spire and Flathead Buttress.

I climbed Nez Perce with Stefan back in July and we had an eventful day on the SW Arete Route. It took us an unexpected 16 hours to climb from car to car. We were unsure if we were on route for most of the climb and the technical difficulty surpassed its given grade. The only beta we had was the wise description of following the "elegant" Arete. I don't consider loose block stacks very elegant, but the satisfaction of the adventure surely was.

For my second route in Blodgett I wanted to climb some solid rock to reassure me that this place is as Rad as it looks. In late October Gaelen and I climbed the S Face of Shoshone Spire, a 6 pitch route at the grade of 5.9, we felt. It proved to be the most classic route we have done thus far in our new State. Every pitch was spectacular and had lots of hand jams and bomber pro.

The winter has now settled in and we have been skiing for over a week now so its time to enjoy where I am and what I have.

First pitch of Shoshone Spire- very nice 180 foot pitch

First light hike into Blogett Canyon. Its a special place.

Putting in the boot pack to cross Blogett Canyon

The S face of Shoshone Spire. There are actually 2 pitches below the obvious clean face
 and an ice climb that forms in the shadowed area in winter.

This might be the crux of the route at 5.9.
A fun chimney.

The upper headwall was Fun.
2 pitches from the top. Bummer.

It was 70 degrees and sunny on this fine day at the end of October

Gae looking down at the line of fools who want some Shoshone niceness.
Not many days left like this in the season. 

The climbing was so good to the very top.
Exciting and aesthetic climbing.
Stonehill- Eureka, MT
lots of rocks

Roadside attraction above Lake Kook