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ryanb

[TR] Gash Point, Bitterroots, MT - Skiing the E/NE Ridge/Bowl (Video) 11/25/2012

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Trip: Gash Point, Bitterroots, MT - Skiing the E/NE Ridge/Bowl (Video)

 

Date: 11/25/2012

 

Trip Report:

My wife and I moved to the Bitterroots of western Montana from Seattle last month in Search of something like a less bavarian leavenworth.

 

Sunday we took our skis out for the first tour of the Season and had a wonderful time booting and skinning through breakable crust and thinly covered logs and rocks to find some very skiable pockets of powder (and high winds) in an old burn along a ridge up high. We turned around before the summit but still managed to ski a couple thousand feet.

 

I made a video to celebrate the first tour of the season. Be prepared for tentative early season/thin cover skiing, gratuitous skinning and scenic shots, hillmap stickers and wistful folk music from an old neighbor of mine:

 

(best in full screen HD with the sound on)

 

I'm not really sure what the locals call the route we skied but here it is on a map:

 

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychALEghTYXZlZE1hcBjStzkM

 

Perfect low angle powder terrain.

 

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Skis, Warm Coats, Ptex

 

Approach Notes:

An AWD vehicle could make it to the upper trailhead, we hiked from the lower.

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Looks like a nice spot. I'm assuming you're living in Missoula, or nearby? I'm trying to get a clinical rotation out there next year and would love to hear what you think about the city, climbing, skiing, etc.

 

Thanks.

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Thanks guys, the song is sung by an old neighbor from Seattle and her band Prairie Empire.

 

Kevino, we are in Stevensville which is a small town south of Missoula in the Bitterroot valley and just bug enough to support two micro breweries. I am working remotely and Jen is applying for jobs so we could be almost anywhere but chose here. We are renting but thinking of buying a place somewhere between Hamilton (another two Brewery town with several big walls just outside of town) and Missoula.

 

The climbing (and skiing from what we have seen) are really good if you like a bit of adventure. The Bitterroots valley was formed by the Saphire mountains sliding off the East face of the Bitterroots and leaving foothill free access to 5000 foot slopes and steep sided granite canyons. It is quite striking on a map or satellite photo:

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychALEghTYXZlZE1hcBjw1jkM

 

There isn't a real "destination" ski resort or climbing area but there are loads of scattered crags, bouldering areas and ski tours with 1-2 mile approaches. There aren't up to date guidebooks but there are some really solid locals who have blogs or websites with beta:

 

http://millcreekreport.blogspot.com/

(see also the linked climbing blogs from there)

http://mt-adventures.blogspot.com/

http://www.backcountryfocus.com/

http://downingmountainlodge.com/winter.html

 

There is a growing Climbers meetup which is a cool place to meet people and check out new crags:

http://www.meetup.com/MontanaRockandIce/

 

We will be trying to post tr's and things on the hillmap blog as well to get people to use our mapping site:

http://blog.hillmap.com

 

Missoula is a cool town as well. We saw the banff tour there in a packed 1000 seat historic theater to give you soem idea of the culture and there are a number of good restaurants including some thai and two sushi places that are pretty good if you don't mind fish that has been frozen.

 

The downsides are the Smoke from forest fires in late summer/early fall (we couldn't even tell we had a view for our first few weeks here) and a winter haze in the valley due to frequent inversions and lots of people using wood stoves.

 

There are also a few local ski areas that people seem to really like and you can head north to kalispell for a bigger area and more rock climbing (the couple who runs the meetup is from there).

 

 

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Hamilton is a pretty awesome place. Best access for quality rock climbing in Montana period. I love that place! Enjoy!

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I skied for one day at the Missoula Ski bowl this year near the very end of the ski season. What I really liked was that at the bar after the day...practically everybody knew, well, everybody knew everybody there...now that is a local hill.

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