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Flathead Lake area climbing

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Who knows the crags around Flathead lake, Whitefish, Kalispell, Bigfork, Glacier and surrounding areas? Alpine routes too? I need some beta for a July trip.

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You are talking about an area that is choss. Some of it is solid here and there (Misson mnts have some good routes-McDonald pk) but all of it is highly-to-not-so-highly metamorphosed sedimentary rock that has then been folded by tectonic activity leaving it fractured and loose. There is a book called 'Montana Rock' you can borrow from me but it isn't very good. There are lots of small crags here and there and some places that have been developed but my advice is to head south 90 miles and climb in the Bitterroots. I would need hours to give you beta on that area. Gniess (like Mt Lemmon out of Tuson) in the front craggs and pure granite in the back-country. Or go up Lolo creek to the Quartz Monzanite domes.

Hopefully, someone who has been climbing there more recently than 15 years ago can give you better info on the Flathead area. I go there to waterski.

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If you will be in and around Missoula, there are some places that I know of. Mulkey Gulch, east of Missoula is a great place, there are published bolted and trad routes. There is also the Bitterroot Valley where The Kootenai and Blodgett canyons are that offer great climbing, bolted and trad.

 

Go to Pipestone Mountaineering in Missoula on Higgins near the bridge and you can purchase local crag books for all published routes. (I only mention them cuz I dealt with them alot when I went to UM)

 

As far at the Flathead Area I am not sure about only that there are many folks that try winter and summer attempts on some of the Mission Mountain Peaks, McDonald Peak and Warren Peak are the most popular, but there are many first acsents still to be had, primarily winter ascents, for some of the more burlier peaks. A friend and I attempted Warren Peak in the winter on skiis and the approach alone in the blizzard conditions turned us around. Lucifer Lake I have been to but that is more of a hike in...very beautiful and VERY isolated. Make sure to get your pass to use the Indian Land because that Mission Mountain range is owned by the Flathead Indians. I think you can purchase them in St. Ignatius or Polson, it's only like $5 or so.

 

If you are in Big Fork over Fourth of July, don't miss the big celebration. The whole town shuts down and parties for like three days. It is a VERY big event for the whole area and a great drunk!

 

Glacier I have visited and have canoed in a few lakes there, but I am unfamiliar with the climbing. There is no doubt in my mind that someone has published a route book for the areas in and around the park....people come from all over the country to hike and climb there

 

Watch out for the grizzlies on the Flathead Rez AND Glacier!

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If you are in Big Fork over Fourth of July, don't miss the big celebration. The whole town shuts down and parties for like three days. It is a VERY big event for the whole area and a great drunk!

 

Big Fork seems to be all about getting drunk. Each of my nighttime visits there (preciously few) seems to involve drunkenness, bar fights, and bar fights spilling out onto the streets. Good times.

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Not sure if I'll get to spend any time over by Missoula but if I do I'll check out the shop "Pipestone Mountaineering" for some route books.

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There is an area 86 miles NW of Kalispell called "Stone Hill" along the shores of Lake Koocanusa. It's refered to by the locals as "Kooc". You'll find roadside crags with some bolted and some trad routes on mostly solid quartzite. There is a NF campground near there on state highway 37 that's free. The folks over at Pipestone can tell you more about it. They carry a guide to it.

 

It's a nice place to spend a couple of days climbing along the lakes shores.

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I will be climbing McDonald pk sometime during the week of Aug 7-14. You are welcomr to join me. It will be a one day trip in the middle of the week.

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In Libby (near Lake Koocanusa, North of Kalispell) there is a shop downtown called Epperson Mountaineering. Great guy in there and I am sure he has some crags in mind. Also, access to the Cabinet Mountain Range highpoint, Snowshoe Peak, is in between Kalispell and Libby. Watch for Grizzlies!

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There is a lot of rock along the highway between Kalispell and Polson (which runs along the Flathead Lake shore). Not sure of the quality, though.

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I'll be headed up to Kailspell MT by train on Thursday. If anyone knows anyone who wants to climb somewhere in that area between July 10 and July 15, PM me.

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Gotta be brief here, but I'll second checking out Stone Hill. Awesome place. Great swimming at local lakes as well. South (East) side of the lake, about 2 miles West of the big bridge between Eureka and Libby. Vast potential in other areas near there.

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Ditto on Kukanuska. I climbed there a couple times when I lived in MT. Good crag.

Long trad routes in the B-root. Mill Creek Canyon and Blodgett Canyon. Mostly Blodgett. South Face of Flathead Spire (My Mom's Muscle Shirt, 5.10 IV). One of the best IV's in the world. July will be too hot unless you hit it real early.

 

Best bet for alpine / long routes that time of year is to go up to the Bugs. Only a few hours drive from there. Mountaineering in Glacier Park also. Technical rock is way choss and not worth your time but some classic mountaineering slogs and scrambles. Cool place. Have fun. Eat Huckleberries, don't get eaten by bears.

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