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Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Norris Traverse, Glacier National Park, with Matt and Al

A view of Red Eagle Pass just out of camp on Day 3, gaining the Continental Divide. Matt is just visible on the near horizon.
One of the great things about getting older are the friendships that continue to deepen with time. Of course, the deepening requires time together. In the case of Al Parker and Matt Roscoe, we meet for memorable adventures. I had made separate plans with Al and Matt at the beginning of summer to get together in August. We all decided to combine those plans and have Matt take us on the Norris Traverse, which is an off trail route in Glacier. Matt had done the route twice before, so we were in good hands. The off trail portion of the route connects Gunsight Lake and Triple Divide Pass. It is strenuous and slow going, with challenging route finding and class 3 climbing with full packs on. It definitely isn't for the feint of heart, nor for those unprepared for navigating cross country, off trail, with difficult route finding in spots. It's a route suitable for a select few, a description of which can be found in A.G. Edwards, Climbers Guide to Glacier National Park. It was a magical three-night trip, with great weather, incredible scenery, and excellent company in Matt and Al. I hope to go back again to climb some of the amazing peaks we saw along the way: Mount Jackson, Blackfoot Mountain, Mount Logan, the Citadel, and Split Mountain. 
Al at Gunsight Lake.
Matt at Gunsight Lake.
Discussing whether or not to climb Mt. Jackson or keep going to Almost-a-Dog Pass, near Mount Logan in the upper left of the photo. We opted to continue on, which was a good decision.

Matt Roscoe and Al Parker.

The outflow from Jackson Glacier -- cool spot.
And again.
This section was probably the worst bushwacking of the trip. Mount Jackson in the background.
Looking back toward Mt. Jackson from the traverse of the Jackson Glacier basin.

More of the Jackson Glacier basin traverse. Mount Logan in the background.
Hiking slabs toward the end of the day, below Mount Logan.
Albert Parker III.
Beautiful off trail walking.
Hiking the crest of a moraine near the end of the first day.
Near camp, night 1.
Matt and the Citadel.

Blackfoot Mountain, Matt, and Mount Jackson.
The Citadel on the morning of Day 2.

Looking back over the Jackson Glacier Basin on the morning of Day 2.
Al on Almost-Dog-Pass. Mount Logan behind him.
Almost-a-Dog Pass with Mount Jacson (right) and Blackfoot Mountain (left)
Hiking out toward Almost-a-Dog Mountain

A shot of Matt above the descent chimney on the east cliffs of Almost-a-Dog Pass. This is the crux of the route and it's not easy to find. Without the chimney, the route is technical, i.e., requires ropes.

The beautiful Red Eagle Pass. We saw a grizzly in this area about 40 minutes later from above.
Climbing up out of Red Eagle Pass at the end of day 2.
At camp, night 2.

Evening light. Mount Logan, Almost-a-Dog Pass and Almost-a-Dog Mountain on the horizon.
Morning light. Mount Logan, Almost-a-Dog Pass and Almost-a-Dog Mountain on the horizon.
Mighty Mount Stimson on day 3.
Walking the Divide. Mount Logan in the upper-right.
Matt walking the Divide: Split Mountain on the left and Norris Mountain on the right.
Matt looking south.
Al, looking south into the Nyack/Coal Creek Country of Glacier.

Looking back over the class 3 ridge we descended on day 3.
Mr. Parker again.
Steep hiking up the western flank of Norris Mountain.
Matt hiking down from the summit of Norris Mountain.

Hiking out on day 4. Triple Divide peak behind Matt and Al.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Shard, Bitterroot Range

Jen a few steps from the summit of the Shard. It took some convincing to get her to take the last few steps, as behind her is a sheer cliff.
What has turned out to be the last hurrah peakbag for Jen and I, before she does the Rut over Labor Day weekend, was our climb of the Shard in early in August. The Shard is an unofficial name given by climbers to the third highest peak in the Bitterroots (9883'). To get there, you drive to the Chaffin Creek Trailhead, just south of Darby, walk 6 miles to Hart Lake, and then climb off trail 1.5 miles northwest to the summit. An excellent description of the route can be found on Summitpost, or even better, buy the excellent book Bitterroot Mountain Summits, by Michael Hoyt, who wrote the Summitpost page. The route from Hart Lake up the south slope to the summit is very steep, crossing boulder fields, steep talus and scree, and finally turning to solid class 3 at the top, with exposure and loose rock. Jen was nervous -- such routes aren't for the faint of heart -- and so we took it slow, traveling the 1.5 miles from the lake to the summit more slowly than the 6 miles from the trailhead to the lake. The Shard is a fine climb, but it is truly a climb, not a hike, and so is not for everyone. It goes without saying that it was yet another memorable day with Jen during our 20th anniversary summer. 

On the way in.

Looking up at the Shard from Hart Lake.

Early sections of the climb from Hart Lake.

Still higher with Pudge.

And higher still with Sugarloaf in the background.

The class 3 sections with Jen and Sugarloaf once again.

El Capitan, Lonesome Bachelor and the three Como Peaks from the summit of the Shard.

Jen on the summit.

selfie on the summit.

Jen again.

Coming down on the summit cliffs.

More descending on the class 3 sections.

Out of the class 3, looking down-valley.

And headed out.