Saturday, July 30, 2011

I came, I saw, I climbed

Wednesday I relaxed, read, had some sushi in Bozeman-where I randomly ran into a guy named Adam from Hope who just happened to recognize me from campus.  That was all well and good, but when you are in Montana in July you have to get outdoors and do something.  This week that meant climbing a mountain-Emigrant Peak.  This was the obvious choice since it is opposite the ranch in the valley and stares us in the face every day.  This picture is from where we parked at the base.

Scott, Travis, and I packed lunches and left the ranch at 5:30am-ridiculously early, but I was excited for my first summit.  We arrived at the base about 45 minutes later and were on our way.  Things were on the up and up.  Literally.  The trail is a slight incline for about 5 minutes before getting down to business and turning into a pretty steep incline.  About one third of the climb is a meadow that is just about a 45ยบ angle.

Emigrant could just as well be called stairmaster 8000 since that is about how many steps it takes to summit it.  After the meadow comes a short area of forest.  We took a break at Snack Break Rock, as we called it, before continuing on to the scree and last third of it.

  The scree is mostly made up of little rocks that slide down as you step on them.  One step forward results in half a step back most of the time.  Ridiculous.  When we hit the ridge near the top, we scared off a whole herd of mountain goats who were hanging out on the other side of it.
After that point, we knew we were close and the last bit actually was not too bad-mostly due to that fact. We followed this ridge to the top.
I have done a lot of new things out here in Montana, but this was definitely the most rewarding so far.  The view says it all.
The peak is 10,921 feet, and the total elevation gain from the trail head is 4,687 feet.  We summited in just under three hours, not too shabby at all.  We ate lunch at the summit, called our families just to say 'hey,' and drank in the amazing scenery.  We could see the Beartooth Range to the East, the Gallatin and Madison ranges to the West, and even the snowcapped Tetons to the Southwest.

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