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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Snowcrest Range: Sunset and Olson Peaks and the Snowcrest Divide.

Jen walking the open meadows of the Snowcrest Divide. Day 1 included 9 or so miles of this.
During the week of the 4th of July, Ellie took a trip to New York City, so Jen and I were on our own. After visiting my family in Butte and then Jen's at the Dearborn River, we took a few day trip to southwest Montana and the Snowcrest Range, which was recommended to me by Dan Saxton as a good place to go in early July. He was right: despite the high elevation of this country, it's dry and so the snow leaves it early. Another reason I was drawn to the Snowcrest was to climb Sunset Peak, which is a P2K summit and is also a featured climb in Peakbagging Montana, by Cedron Jones. We increased the adventure by starting from Notch Station (rather than E. Fk. Blacktail Deer Ck., as suggested by Jones), where there is a Forest Service Cabin, but the road in is long and very rough for the last five miles (a high clearance vehicle is a must). On the first day, we climbed Sunset and its neighbor Olson Peak and stayed at the Forest Service Cabin. Then on days two and three, we did an overnight backpack, hiking along the Snowcrest Divide, over Stonehouse Mountain, down to E. Fk. Blacktail Deer Ck., and then back up to Notch Station. This loop is very nice and very unique. In the Montana Hiker's Guide, the authors say that it is the "best backpack in Montana that nobody does." I highly recommend it, though it is a long haul to the trailhead. You can see our GPS route of the backpack here.
Driving in on the interminable and rough road to Notch Station.
Jen walking up Sunset Peak.
Jen on the summit of Sunset Peak.
On the summit of Snowcrest Mountain
Coming down the east ridge of Sunset.
On the traverse over to Olson Peak.
On the summit of Olson.
Jen walking the Snowcrest Divide.
Another on the Snowcrest Divide.
And again.
Near camp after dropping of the divide.
Near camp in the morning.
A shot of the Snowcrest Divide on day 2 from E. Fk. Blacktail Creek.


samh said...

Been thinking on a trip along the Snowcrest a lot in the past months. Great to stumble upon your write-up on this via MTWeekender's blog). Generally have enjoyed a bunch of your posts as I've been making my way through them the past couple days.

Johnathan Bardsley said...
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Johnathan Bardsley said...

There are a lot of big days on foot you can do from Notch Station. Of course there are the peaks and the loop described above, but ther eis also interesting stuff heading to the east/southeast.