Sunday, November 4, 2012

Among the Mountains

Cam, Riley and I set out to summit the highest mountain  in the Bitterroot range on early Saturday morning.

We chose a class 3 climb, one that we were comfortable with but wasn't entirely easy. We hiked in to Baker Lake and set up base camp, surrounded by what seemed like an amphitheater of mountains.

Not a terrible camping spot

The summit of the towering mountain overlooking the lake (what we thought was the summit of Trapper) seemed somewhat intimidating. After setting up camp and losing a bunch of weight, we began out approach to the gully where we would make our ascent. 

The first section of the climb was the toughest... Rock and ice covered with a thin layer of snow. The going was slow and the crampons and ice axe came in handy.

The rest of our route was very nice with a solid base layer of snow. 

The ascent

Cam and Riley working up the snowfield

Once we reached the ridge, it was a strait shot to the summit. However, the peak that we had been aiming for the entire time, turned out to be south trapper peak instead. Once we summited, it was obvious to us that we were not on the highest point in the Bitterroots. 

The real summit of Trapper

With the late start that we had already gotten on the day and the small detour we had taken to the south ridge summit, we didn't have enough daylight to summit the main Trapper peak. We didn't want to risk descending in the dark, so we headed for base camp. The descent went fine and we were back at camp before dark. 

Turns out the decision not to go for the summit was a good one because the winds picked up and a lot of snow was being blown off the top of the mountain. 

In the morning we decided against trying for a second time because of the new snow accumulations. We hiked out to the car to end the trip, our buisness being left unfinished with Trapper peak.

It was still a great trip with great friends as we learned more about our limits in mountaineering and trusting each other on the mountain. We will definitely be back someday to finally summit the real Trapper peak. 

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