Bob Marshall - Chinese Wall: When & Where?
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Timothy Reynolds
(magrenell)

Locale: New England
Bob Marshall - Chinese Wall: When & Where? on 05/21/2012 10:58:17 MDT Print View

Hi, Everyone,

I'm planning a trip to the Bob for the Fall of 2013. We live in NYC, so there's going to be a bit of a schlep for us, getting out there.

My first question is, when would be the ideal time to go? We really value time in the wilderness (as you may imagine, city-bound as we are) and would be dismayed to find ourselves out at the Chinese Wall with hoards of other hikers.

My second question: Where is the best access point, or, more specifically, how would you advise us to get there given that we would like to hike into the Chinese Wall, and are looking for a 6-7 day experience.

Thanks, in advance, for your suggestions and advice.

Tim.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Chinese Wall on 05/21/2012 11:18:37 MDT Print View

Bear in mind that you're talking about the most popular backpacking destination in the Bob complex. It's the only place in the whole area with a no-camping zone, and for good reason. Thus if you insist on solitude you'll need to go early or late. Early (June) you'll have to deal with snow and potentially gnarly creek crossings, so late in probably a more conservative bet. The further from August you get, the more certain you'll have the place to yourself, and the more likely the weather is to get interesting (ie snow). In late September and October you'll see more hunters than hikers.

Access depends oh how you'll be getting there, what you want to see, and how hard you want to work. Benchmark, Gibson, or Headquarters Creek are the traditional THs, and give the quickest access. I'd rank that latter two as making for a more scenic loop overall, at the cost of more miles.

A more diverse and somewhat less well trodden trip could be had starting from Silvertip/Spotted Bear. Especially if you have two vehicles and don't mind a long drive on a very good gravel road a loop starting at Silvertip and finishing at the Meadow Creek gorge is quite diverse and very scenic.

Septmber fishing should be excellent, too.

Timothy Reynolds
(magrenell)

Locale: New England
re Chinese Wall on 05/21/2012 12:55:19 MDT Print View

David, thanks so much for this info.

We've become a bit snow-averse after being particularly unlucky in the past. Hiking later in the season might induce PTSD :-) How likely is it, on average, to find yourself stuck in snow in this area, around mid-September?

A two car option would be beyond our budget. We would be either flying in from New York City, or taking the train out (depending on the amount of time we can get off work -- of course, I haven't checked train prices; it's most likely out of our budget too). One rented car would be in both of these options.

Given that the Chinese Wall area is the most popular destination, as you say, would you recommend somewhere different in the Bob?

Thanks again, David.

Tim.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob logistics and snow on 05/21/2012 14:08:35 MDT Print View

The chance of being snowed on in mid-September during any given week is reasonably high. It's unlikely to be more than a few inches, however.

If you come in mid-Sept I would not worry about solitude. You could do a loop in Glacier that time of year and have very few encounters with other hikers.

If you're flying, you'll most likely end up in Great Falls renting a car, in which case the relatively short drive to Gibson is probably the best bet.

Sam Thompson
(stromboli) - F
Bob on 06/02/2012 18:18:00 MDT Print View

An alternative could include Scapegoat Mountain. The formation is not as long as the Chinese wall, but it is taller. Not sure how crowds are there though - I'd guess very few. You may want to buy a copy of Falcon Guide's Hiking the Bob Marshall Country. It has a bunch of trips in it with descriptions, including Scapegoat Mountain and the Chinese Wall. There is also the North Wall (it's in the book too).

Timothy Reynolds
(magrenell)

Locale: New England
Bob Book on 06/13/2012 11:33:12 MDT Print View

Thank you, Sam, for these tips and the heads-up about the book.

T.