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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 08/21/2012 10:42:35 MDT Print View

New year, new course to keep things interesting. Benchmark TH (end of the road) to Bear Creek (parking lot where Highway 2 first leaves/meets the Middle Fork, south of Essex).

General idea: a bit less snow, a lot more water to worry about. Maybe.

If you don't know, beta and reports from 2012 are here: http://bedrockandparadox.com/bob-marshall-wilderness-open/

Edited by DaveC on 02/04/2013 09:25:33 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: 2013 Bob Open on 01/28/2013 10:22:12 MST Print View

Bumping this as a requested discussion/planning thread.

As noted above the organized start will be Saturday May 25th at 0800 (mountain time) at the Benchmark TH. Mandatory safety meeting in the parking lot at 0740.

This is not a race. If you think you're ready, but would rather sleep a lot and take a ~week to make the journey, do it. Depth of experience is prioritized above all else.

Most likely I'll be offering limited spaces in my truck for those who wish to leave cars at the finish and have a ride to the start Friday evening. We'll camp at the Benchmark campground Friday night.

Any questions, ruminations, recriminations, etc; post here.


I should also note that, based on a conversation with a fellow-traveler this weekend, I'll be taking the Bob Open into broader areas (Frank/Selway, GYE) in years to come. The date will remain late-May, contrary to many comments I've received to the effect of "That'd be fun/I'd do it if it happened in July." In fact, it would be a trail run in July, and that is boring. So if you want to experience this course, get off the couch now.

Edited by DaveC on 01/28/2013 10:31:25 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 01/28/2013 10:37:21 MST Print View

...it would be a trail run in July, and that is boring.

Hear hear. I like the idea of seeing this event hopscotch around the country to other locations.

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Shuttle Dibs on 01/28/2013 16:53:31 MST Print View

Such was the luxury of Dave's vehicle last year that I'll put my carpool reservation in now :)

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: shuttle dibs on 01/28/2013 17:47:12 MST Print View

I have not, nor will I, fix the latch on the tailgate. ;)

I did scout out a good place in August to get burgers Friday night.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 01/28/2013 17:53:59 MST Print View

I am envisioning a half dozen half-drunk-with-tiredness hikers lolling about in the back of a mid-nineties Tacoma.

Cyrus Dietz
(CyCalvin)

Locale: Midwest
Re: re: shuttle dibs on 01/28/2013 19:39:10 MST Print View

Are we going to the Buckhorn Friday night? Count me in for a shuttle ride.

tyler marlow
(like.sisyphus) - F

Locale: UTAH
Resource recommendations? on 01/28/2013 22:02:51 MST Print View

What are your recommendations for maps and planning resources?

I tried really hard to make it last year but couldnt swing it. So I promised myself I'd make it this year.

I may be out on the PCT, but we'll see!

This year's course seems great for my skillset too!

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO Resources on 01/29/2013 06:01:51 MST Print View

Sounds great. I really like the thought of camping at Benchmark the night before and getting in a little chatting. Last year I was so tired from that 14 hr drive...

Tyler, you can get a lot accomplished with:
- Google Earth
- CairnCarto Maps (North and South Bob)
- Gmap4 - http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php

With Gmap4, switch to the USGS topo's in the pull down menu.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob planning on 01/29/2013 06:57:12 MST Print View

That's what I had in mind Cyrus. I take it you became acquainted last year?


Tyler, I'd start by getting the Cairn maps. They're quite recent, were built with GPS data, and most significantly don't include trails which no longer exist on the ground. Once you think you have a doable route, use Google Earth, sat photos, Snotel, and USGS streamflow data to fill in the blanks (i.e. how snowy will this pass be, how high will that crossing be) as best you can. Aside from last years reports you're going to find almost no first-hand accounts of being out in the Bob that time of year, so some of the crucial stuff will come down to educated guesses (I'm in the same boat, though my guesses are probably more educated than most). Do your best and be mentally prepared to improvise on the ground.

Edited by DaveC on 01/29/2013 06:58:08 MST.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Bob 2013 on 01/29/2013 19:49:56 MST Print View

I am very interested in this... I've been looking for a new challenge to sink my teeth in to. However, never having been to MT before, I'm hesitant to do this solo. Anyone looking for a partner? I'm not planning on racing- my thoughts were somewhere around 4-5 days.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Bob 2013 on 01/30/2013 20:39:13 MST Print View

If I can make it, I will definitely not be racing.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Bob 2013 on 02/02/2013 18:34:46 MST Print View

I've been chatting with Andrew about this and I'm in. Will likely have a few questions forthcoming.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: shuttle on 02/02/2013 21:35:46 MST Print View

Dave, if you have room for Chris and I in your truck, that would be awesome. Otherwise we will probably rent 2 cars at the airport and might be able to carpool with others.

Time to buy some plane tickets...

Andrew

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: shuttles on 02/04/2013 09:30:37 MST Print View

For those who haven't had the pleasure: my truck is an Xterra with no back seats and a hatch which has to be held shut with a bungee. Not particularly luxurious or comfortable. 5 total in the car is the max with gear.

In early April I'll take a survey of for-sure participants and if numbers dictate suggest that we split the costs of renting a minivan which will get us all to the start. I'd take payment as a reservation at that time.

Out of towners are more reliable, both in this respect and as participants generally. Local participation will largely depend on the weather.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 02/26/2013 08:18:32 MST Print View

Dave, is the truck you've been speaking of the one that took a recent turn for the worse? If so, sounds like s/he had a good run!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
2013 Bob Open on 02/26/2013 10:16:47 MST Print View

Yep, the Xterra is no more (guy pulled in front on me on the way to work last week). We got our money out of it for sure.

Whatever replaces it will be a lot smaller, so that will have to be taken into account.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 02/26/2013 10:20:36 MST Print View

I highly recommend something of the EJ22 or 22RE variety as they've served me well in my day. Currently very happy with my 3F-E but that's definitely in a small vehicle. Never thought I'd get into a car discussion on BPL... weird.

EDIT: My apologies for the thread drift. Now back to our regularly scheduled BMWO discussion.

Edited by sharalds on 02/26/2013 10:21:17 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob Open cars on 02/26/2013 11:27:41 MST Print View

Smaller as in a Versa or Yaris.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 02/26/2013 12:32:14 MST Print View

Event participants better get their names in the hat soon 'cause Dave's future car isn't going to have room for many!

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: 2013 Open, thoughts and discussion on 03/03/2013 13:19:39 MST Print View

Well, Chris and I bought plane tickets, so the proverbial gauntlet has been thrown down. We have a flight to catch on Thursday morning, which is soon enough for me to feel some tIme pressure to have a speedy journey but should give us enough time to deal with any complications.

In terms of routes, neither of us have been to the Bob before so we are content to take the obvious way. The efficacy of a packraft this year is obvious, but neither of us have any rafting experience, and I don't think near-peak snowmelt is an intelligent time to learn. So I think our main challenge will be stream crossings sans floatation. This will largely come down to conditions at the time, and I was depressed to learn that Dan's swim last year was during significantly lower than average flows. There are options if Strawberry or Lodgepole are not crossable, but they are unpleasant enough to provide motivation to get across. I will be watching the streamflow gauges and snow sensors with great interest.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: 2013 Open thoughts on 03/03/2013 21:18:20 MST Print View

Dead on across the board w/r/t your assessment, and glad you two will be coming.

I was out on the Rocky Mtn front skiing this weekend, and while the high altitude snow pack is in good shape, warm weather the last few weeks has the low stuff already melting off. All that could change quite drastically, and we won't have a good sense of streamflow until the week before. If the Middle Fork is over 8000 cfs at West Glacier I'll be nervous.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open" on 03/03/2013 21:27:15 MST Print View

Montana spring and summer snowpack is almost always best gauged by March snow.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: 2013 Open, thoughts and discussion on 03/04/2013 10:24:26 MST Print View

@ Chris & Andrew

Way to get after it guys! A few of us were just discussing this the other night. The general thought was "there's no way I'm going to MT into unfamiliar wilderness solo". Well... now we know who the California contingent will be! I'm really looking forward to hearing how you guys do and gleaning your post trip assessments.

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Water Beta on 03/12/2013 15:14:47 MDT Print View

Sooooo......

Give me an idea of how big Strawberry, Cox, and Lodgepole Creeks might be. They look like they might have rather large drainages.

Just curious. I'm totally NOT going that way!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Water Beta on 03/12/2013 17:55:48 MDT Print View

Two hints:

-gradient is at least as relevant as basin size (if you have to swim it's nice if the water is slow)

-Granite Creek is occasionally kayaked at the very height of run off

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Open on 03/13/2013 21:10:19 MDT Print View

Hey Dave, given your penchant for multisport travel, you'd probably appreciate this: http://www.powdermag.com/videos/salomon-freeski-tv-poor-mans-heli/#.UT90QTXXtP0.facebook

Maybe I should bring a paraglider to the Open... It sure would make those pesky river crossings easier... :)

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
stream crossing made easy on 03/14/2013 09:34:07 MDT Print View

gogogadget copter

Edited by spelt on 03/14/2013 09:35:09 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Planning questions on 03/18/2013 14:38:48 MDT Print View

So I bought the map set and set the planned route. I convinced myself that this wont be any worse than early season Sierra trips. So now it's down to flight and car logistics. It would be great if I can fly in Friday morning. It sounds like there will be some shuttling going on Friday from the end point to the start. Anyone have any idea what time that would be leaving Bear Creek?

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Planning questions on 03/18/2013 16:12:40 MDT Print View

Greg, that's what Chris and I are doing. We fly in Friday morning and would participate in the car shuttling. Here's what Dave said earlier about this:

"In early April I'll take a survey of for-sure participants and if numbers dictate suggest that we split the costs of renting a minivan which will get us all to the start. I'd take payment as a reservation at that time."

So no firm plans yet but I am sure we can accommodate you as long as you don't arrive too late.

I was thinking that we could hide the keys to the car shuttle vehicle at Benchmark somewhere so that if anybody has to bail they could have a transportation option there and then also take care of bringing the shuttle car back to Essex.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
I'm booked on 03/18/2013 16:19:20 MDT Print View

I went ahead and pulled the trigger. I fly into great Falls Thursday evening and will either get a hotel in town or head directly to the finish point and crash. I do have a rental so I can help pull off some shuttle logistics. My current plan is to attempt this in roughly two days though conditions will ultimately decide. I fly out Tuesday morning at 7:00am so I will be done on Monday even if it takes some night hiking. I'm looking forward to visiting this part of the country and meeting another batch of BPL folks. I will warn you all about one thing. Snow has a habit of following me. I hiked the PCT in 2011.... Record snow year. R2R2R last year, snow. Hiked a few days with Swami on the AT, snow. See the pattern! Now I just need to just myself back into fighting shape :O

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: I'm booked on 03/18/2013 16:22:19 MDT Print View

Woo hoo!

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO on 03/18/2013 17:23:53 MDT Print View

"I went ahead and pulled the trigger."
Excellent. You won't regret it.

I fly out Tuesday morning at 7:00am
Gutsy. Having a bit of motivation is nice, and if things go poorly you're only out a few hundred. I'm supposed to make the 20 hour drive back to Ontario and be at work Tuesday at 6am. My boss can't authorize any more time off than this, but it's a wink-nudge situation because he knows I won't make it.

Edited by dandydan on 03/18/2013 17:26:54 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
BMWO shuttle on 03/20/2013 07:45:28 MDT Print View

As regards the shuttle, my hope would be to recruit someone to be the driver so that no one will have to go back to Benchmark to fetch it. If a van rental is necessary this also saves cash.

Probable schedule would be leaving the Flathead in the afternoon, meet at Bear Creek in the late afternoon, and shuttle. You can camp at Bear Creek, or in numerous locations along highway 2 to the east, if you are so inclined.

Edited by DaveC on 03/20/2013 07:46:59 MDT.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: BMWO shuttle on 03/21/2013 13:05:46 MDT Print View

I like the idea of recruiting someone to be the driver as not having to go back to Benchmark to fetch a car would certainly make things easier. I'm more than happy to chip in my fair share to make it happen.

Our flight is scheduled to arrive in Kalispell at 11:37am on Friday, so being at Bear Creek in the late afternoon shouldn't be a problem.

Edited by csteutterman on 03/21/2013 13:06:25 MDT.

tyler marlow
(like.sisyphus) - F

Locale: UTAH
River banks on 03/27/2013 12:03:46 MDT Print View

This may be way off base but, is there any viability to following riverbanks? Say maybe hiking the banks of the middle fork? My thinking is that there should be a relatively clear and direct path that's free of snow.

On another note, the new ruta loctura raft seems perfect for this trip!

Cyrus Dietz
(CyCalvin)

Locale: Midwest
Shuttle on 03/28/2013 10:30:42 MDT Print View

My BMWO plans are coming together. At this point Kate and I are driving out from Minnesota and will be camping at Benchmark Creek Campground a couple days ahead of the event. Friday morning we are picking up a rental car and shuttling it to Bear Creek trail head, from there we will head back to Benchmark in my vehicle. I am estimating arrival at Bear Creek around 1:00pm. I will have an empty vehicle with room for 4 or 5 other people plus gear. So if anyone is interested in a ride from there let me know. Having a few people ride share would help cut the cost of the rental car and my carbon foot print…

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Good timing on 03/28/2013 10:36:11 MDT Print View

This could fit my timing quite nicely. I will be at Bear Creek sometime either Thursday night or Friday morning.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: BMWO shuttle on 03/29/2013 10:14:24 MDT Print View

Cyrus, if you could give some folks a ride that would be great. Between you and me we might be able to get away without a rental van. Folks, if you're for sure coming right now I'd encourage you to make arrangements with Cyrus. I can then pick up the stragglers who come out of the woodwork later.

"This may be way off base but, is there any viability to following riverbanks? Say maybe hiking the banks of the middle fork? My thinking is that there should be a relatively clear and direct path that's free of snow."

Not sure why you'd want to, there is a trail the whole way.

"On another note, the new ruta loctura raft seems perfect for this trip!"

Tyler, you're scaring me. There is no water on any likely route which I'd want to float in that boat, especially in late May.

The snowpack below 5k continues to be decimiated by warm weather. What that will mean for us is still up in the air, but the contrast with the last two years is drastic.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
I'm in on 03/29/2013 10:15:35 MDT Print View

Cyrus,
Count me in for sure.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
Spring Rafting on 03/29/2013 10:25:40 MDT Print View

I agree with Dave, if you are going to raft I would suggest nothing less that Alpaca rafts. With regard to carpooling, I plan on flying into Kalispell on that Thursday and would be all for contributing to the car pool fund. I would appreciate a ride from either Dave or Cyrus.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Carpool on 03/29/2013 10:48:26 MDT Print View

Cyrus, Chris and I would be interested in carpooling too. We arrive in Kalispell at 11:39AM that Friday, then we have to rent a car and go buy some bear spray and fuel, so we might not be able to make it to Bear Creek until 2:00 PM or so. If that's too late we can try to coordinate with Dave.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Carpooling on 03/29/2013 15:36:39 MDT Print View

I'm hoping for a car pool from Bear Creek, but 1 pm is a bit early for me. I could make it happen, but was hoping to leave Ontario after work on Thursday (less days off) and then roll into Bear Creek mid-late afternoon.

Edited by dandydan on 03/29/2013 16:17:25 MDT.

Cyrus Dietz
(CyCalvin)

Locale: Midwest
Friday on 03/30/2013 16:17:36 MDT Print View

We can work out a time that works for everyone, and it sounds like Dave will be comming through later in the day. I was looking forward to checking out the area Friday afternoon anyway. I am so stoked!

tyler marlow
(like.sisyphus) - F

Locale: UTAH
ok, no water for me! on 03/31/2013 17:16:27 MDT Print View

Hah, yeah it seems that i'm heading in the wrong direction with my route planning. Working off google earth has a learning curve that i dont think i've really made it past.

Dont worry guys, I wont be rafting anything :)

I'll have the Cairn maps soon!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
A great snapshot on 03/31/2013 17:35:56 MDT Print View

Tyler,
I'm still try to learn this new area, Montana. I was all excited watching the last few days, the Flathead was running about 50% above median. Today the flow was just over 1600cfs which is in the 75th percentile. I lost my enthusiasm a bit when I saw this chart. I realized how insignificant that 1600cfs really was. Look at the mean flow for the dates of our trip.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/dvstat/?site_no=12358500&por_12358500_4=66258,00060,4

Edited by gg-man on 03/31/2013 17:56:45 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO on 04/14/2013 07:18:33 MDT Print View

Looks like the melt is proceeding nicely in the Bob. Good to see spring is showing up somewhere.

I picked up some MSR Shift snowshoes yesterday. I still think I'm going to want those - at least for the upcoming training if not the actual event.

MF Flathead

Cyrus Dietz
(CyCalvin)

Locale: Midwest
Spring on 04/15/2013 11:32:38 MDT Print View

I hear you Dan, here in Minnesota it appears we are still in the middle of winter. I was amazed at how fast the middle fork picked up volume! Around here most of the lakes have a foot of ice on them and the rivers are flowing below the 25 percentile.

I want to be in Montana...

casey redder
(credder) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
BOB Open on 04/18/2013 14:25:19 MDT Print View

I might see you guys up there... want to find the "secret" path to the top of the wall... burnt creek i believe... went last year to indian point about the time you guys are leaving... the litte streams were pumping and the prarrie that indian point is next to was a marsh... lots of bear sign too.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob Open on 04/19/2013 07:36:23 MDT Print View

Be great to have you Casey. Was just down in your neck of the woods for a conference; great singletrack right outside town.

Chris Johnson
(MontanaChris)
Attendance? Check! on 04/24/2013 22:53:22 MDT Print View

I know that Kalispell has atleast two more locals that will be representing. Looking forward to meeting everyone.

Alex Joseph
(alxjalxj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains grew up Lk Superior
Looking for ride from end to start line on 04/27/2013 12:38:06 MDT Print View

I will be coming down from Calgary on Friday afternoon/evening. Is there a car shuttle planned? Or others who want to share a ride?

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO - Rides on 04/27/2013 20:17:32 MDT Print View

Nice to hear you're coming down.

There's been a little chatter on shuttles but nothing concrete so far. It seems like there's quite a few people who'll be wanting rides. With the event 4 weeks away, this will hopefully take shape soon.

Edited by dandydan on 04/29/2013 20:20:09 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: BMWO rides on 04/29/2013 10:03:20 MDT Print View

Here's the deal on rides from the finish (parking lot @ Bear Creek) to the start at Benchmark.

Hopefully those who were going to contact Cyrus about this have already done so.

If you're still looking for a ride, you'll need to email dave at backpackinglight dot com by the end of this week. If there is more interest than will fit in my car (which seems highly likely) I'll be looking into renting a minivan, which should seat six plus myself and the driver. I'll take the first six names I get and ask for paypal or a check to secure your spot. The amount will cover the cost of a rental for 24 hours and gas, so somewhere between 20 and 30 a person. After a notification email goes out at the beginning of next week the first six will have a day or two to commit, after which time I'll move down the list (if there is one).

Pickup time at Bear Creek will depend on who is the shuttle driver and when that person (and I) can get off work. Around 5pm Friday is a safe bet for planning purposes. If there are Flathead folks who want in we can work out a meeting spot in the valley.

So, you have this week to speak up and commit.

In spite of what seemed like an earlier than usual melt off, snow conditions across elevations are more or less where they were last year. Mid elevations are probably a bit thinner. As usual, temperatures could do anything in the next three weeks and cause drastic changes, or little change at all.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
Transportation arrangements on 04/29/2013 22:56:06 MDT Print View

My wife and I have altered our plans a little and plan to fly into and out of Great Falls. We will be renting a car in Great Falls on Thursday the 24th, driving to the Bear Creek TH on Friday with an anticipated arrival time of around noon. We plan on getting a car large enough to give two other people a ride, one spot of which has already been spoken for. We don't plan on leaving the Bear Creek TH area until after Dan gets down from the Thunder Bay area. Hopefully if we take Dan and one more person we can eliminate the need for Dave to rent a van and the inherent difficulties that would mean with respect to getting the van back out of Benchmark.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob rides on 04/30/2013 07:49:30 MDT Print View

Thanks Greg, I appreciate it.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
BMWO rides on 05/06/2013 10:10:24 MDT Print View

All emails have been returned at this point, and plans are set. If you're late to the party feel free to contact me, but I can't guarantee anything.

Alex Joseph
(alxjalxj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains grew up Lk Superior
Anyone sharing their route? on 05/07/2013 16:33:00 MDT Print View

I am finally getting down to looking at potential routes for the first time since November...anyone else sharing their planned route?

Are people following the CDT for first 30km or more? Or even more by swinging east and going 75km or so before joining the Middle Fork?

Is everyone carrying a packraft for the final third of the race??? or walking along the Middle Fork...

Are others planning on veering west of the straight line between the start and finish and considering going over passes etc in the high country on the west side?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
My routes on 05/07/2013 17:03:56 MDT Print View

Three possibilities depending on condition.
1) base - direct line up and over sun river pass and down the flathead. Roughly 90 miles
2) Chinese Wall Option. Head up the CDT along the Chinese wall then back down to sun river and over the pass. I think that's about 105
3) Super Swami option. Chinese wall option but follow red shale creek back up to the north section of the wall then back down to sun river and over the pass. This is about 120 miles and will require 40mpd.

Two decision points.
1) at start whether to do the Chinese wall option. The only way I won't is if there is sever overcast which would keep me from seeing the wall even if I'm next to it. Or second if there is heavy fresh snow. If I take the Chinese wall option I have to make it across and start back down to red shale creek. I will be targeting a 40 mile day even with the late start. How close I get to that target will dictate the next decision.
2) when I get down to red shale creek I would then decide whether to head back up and go back in the snow. If I take this then my target will be to camp just before the snow.

I have 72 hours to finish the route and make it back to Great Falls. This will factor into the decisions.

Who's next?

Alex Joseph
(alxjalxj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains grew up Lk Superior
Sun River Pass option on 05/07/2013 17:19:34 MDT Print View

Hiking Malto - thanks for sharing.

Question about your "direct"...

Is Sun River Pass located here 47.957514,-112.979622?

https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=Sun+River+pass,+MT,+United+States&hl=en&ll=47.958548,-113.075924&spn=0.097368,0.264187&sll=47.532038,-111.719971&sspn=3.141372,8.453979&t=p&hnear=Sun+River+Pass&z=13&iwloc=A

This would take you significantly east of the CDT...is that a choice due to snow potential on the CDT?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Yes on 05/07/2013 17:41:51 MDT Print View

As near as I can tell without a map this is where I'm planning to cross into the Flathead Basin. This will allow me to wok around to the north east side of the Flathead without crossing it directly. My concern is that not being familiar with the area that I would have to head upstream on the flathead to find a suitable crossing. There are several other options further to the west but all involve a Flathead crossing. maybe that's not a big deal but May 25th is normally close to the peak streamflow.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO on 05/07/2013 20:14:03 MDT Print View

I don't think there's going to be much packrafting happening on the MF Flathead. There's possibilities, but it's a rowdy river this time of year. If someone is at that skill level it would be a great way to travel, but it's bold water. The main waterways people will float are probably the Sun River and SF Flathead. There's a chance someone will float White River, Spotted Bear, MF Flathead.

Most walkers are likely headed north up the Sun River valley for a long time (to Sun River pass). It's mild, low elevation fast travel with only one low pass and it lets you over the MF Flathead without major trouble. Any foot options west of here require a major river crossing, which can be fun. So likely the west side will be more the domain of the rafters.

Use this website and set the maps to t3 or t4 (USGS topo or similar).
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php

Edited by dandydan on 05/07/2013 20:15:28 MDT.

Alex Joseph
(alxjalxj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains grew up Lk Superior
BMWO - the long walk on the east side on 05/07/2013 22:14:33 MDT Print View

Thanks for the insights...

The eastern route looks like a 115km walk between 1200m and 1800m elevation.

Snow at 6000ft seems to be disappearing rapidly

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum=693&state=mt

Question is can the feet handle it and can it be done in 3 days?

Will see how the feet do this week on some 15km marches...

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob routes on 05/08/2013 07:55:20 MDT Print View

Time to talk turkey.

I'm contemplating several routes, and won't make a decision until a few days before and the river levels sort themselves out. It's gone past 70 the last three days here in town, and predictably the S Fork has gone past 7000 cfs and the Middle Fork is closing in on 10000.

Packrafting down the S Fork Sun, walking the excellent N Fork Sun valley, and floating virtually the whole Middle Fork is the fastest route. The issue is, as Dan says, that if the water is big the M Fork will be a good place to die. I've never floated above Schafer, and will float little if any miles below Schafer if levels are above 5000 cfs. There are at least four places on this stretch where the whole current goes through a spot about 10 feet wide, and two of those are outside the Three Forks and Spruce Park gorges.

Hiking below the Wall and going through upper Spotted Bear is a nice route. It'd be nice to see that again, especially (as Greg said) if the weather is good.

A third option is to head west over Hoadley/Stadler and float Danaher to the S Fork. (Or one could climb W River Pass and drop in lower.) Not possible to do that float too many times. All the options for getting back over to the M Fork drainage make it a bit long, but I have a sympathetic work environment which makes this option awfully tempting.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Bob meeting on 05/08/2013 08:00:28 MDT Print View

It seems like everyone is congragating Friday evening, which should make for some high quality prevaricating. For those who haven't been back before, make sure to snag a spot in the South Fork campground, which is right next to the TH at the end of the road. The Benchmark CG is a few miles back towards town. Sites are 6 bucks a night, and we can share. Shouldn't be too crowded, even if the weather is good.

It's a good idea to have a saw in your car, as downed trees on the road are not uncommon. The road is passable to any old vehicle. Unless it snows a ton.

Edited by DaveC on 05/08/2013 09:42:27 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
The 12 mile question on 05/08/2013 08:45:40 MDT Print View

This event is truly incredible. It really forces you to deal with ambiguity and be willing to decide last moment as the conditions become clearer. Here's the latest option that I'm flirting with. instead of doing the full CDT route from start until Sun River Pass there is an option to stay high, leaving the CDT at Open creek and continuing north over switchback pass, past trilobite and gable peaks and hit the middle fork at Schafer.

This route is 12 miles shorter but stays in the 7000' range for an extra 16 miles which will likely involve significantly more snow travel than the option over Sun River Pass. Additionally it would require a Middle Fork crossing near Schafer which looks to be in an area of slower moving water. So is it worth 12 fewer miles to potentially be on the snow an extra 16 miles with a middle fork crossing. Hmmmmm. I love these options. Actually, as I type this the shorter option seems insane unless this melt off continues to accelerate like the last few days.

Cyrus Dietz
(CyCalvin)

Locale: Midwest
Routes on 05/08/2013 10:34:29 MDT Print View

I, like Dave am leaning toward floating the South Fork of the Sun, then hiking to the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Flathead. At that point the decision to float or hike or both will depend on water levels.

I am seriously concerned about boating such a high volume river in high water, but I also really want to float it...

As for the camping, I plan to arrive at Benchmark Creek ahead of Friday so i should have no problem grabbing us a couple campsites and procuring some fire wood.

Edited by CyCalvin on 05/08/2013 10:35:58 MDT.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
Routes on 05/08/2013 13:59:00 MDT Print View

Sounds like a good plan Cyrus, we will not be arriving at Benchmark until maybe 9:00pm and it would be good if a few sites were arranged by then. As previously stated, all routes are weather dependent. Good weather will likely mean a trip over White Pass, down the White River to the SF Flathead to Twin Creek and over the hills to the Middle Fork. I will be rafting. The White river route is the one I took last year. IF the weather is bad and there is little to see I'm inclined to go over Stadler Pass, Danaher to the headwaters of the middle Fork and down. I'll use my Alpaka even though Dave makes a good case for the Scout (I don’t have one). We'll compare tales of who gets the wettest after it's all said and done.

Anytime you put a hundred or more miles on your feet it’s going to hurt; last year did. I’m hoping to split the trip to about 60 miles on foot, 40 miles on river. For general information purposes, last year the snow level in the central range west of Benchmark started at 5900’, by 6100’ snow shoes were really needed. In that case I went over an unnamed pass that was about 7900’ if I recall at the extreme headwaters of the South fork of the White River. There were a number of avalanche chutes along that route but no real danger. Most of the snow I saw slide came off the upper reaches of the surrounding mountains. Of the few I witnessed most stopped sliding well before they reached the valley floor.

Frankly I’m hoping for weather similar to, but not as wind driven intense as last year because the lower temperatures kept the stream levels low. Having said that those are conditions that are out of our hands so route planning that involves more than one path is a good idea.

Lastly, I will have some extra room in the van for gear if things get tight in any of the other cars.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Routes on 05/08/2013 14:51:47 MDT Print View

I won't know if I can make it until the week of, but I might as well throw my two cents in. I'm looking at going over Spotted Bear Pass and down Spotted Bear River, cutting up to the MF either at Pentagon or Schafer.

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Foot Route on 05/11/2013 11:02:49 MDT Print View

My objective this year are to finish and, secondarily, to absorb some more local knowledge, the idea being that with both of those in hand I'm positioned for bolder route attempts in the future. But this year is about a finish, a conservative goal that, combined with solo travel, lends itself to a conservative route.

So, I'm looking forward to returning to the familiar and striking Sun River basin (my bail route last year) but on the west side of the river this time. Cross at the bridge near Gates Park and then over Sun River Pass. Some tributary crossings after that, than I'm out.

96 miles if I added right. I could probably cover the distance in three days without obstacles (but with sleep), plan to take four, and will bring food for five. I'll be carrying overnight gear. Incidently, I just finished the new book about Dick Griffith and discovered that we both share a liking for sleeping well each night. Sustainable pace is my strategy here.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Flathead levels on 05/13/2013 08:01:30 MDT Print View

I hope everyone already noticed that all three forks of the Flathead are setting flow records as we speak. I drove past the Bear Creek TH yesterday afternoon, and must report that it was an impressive and terrifying sight.

Cyrus Dietz
(CyCalvin)

Locale: Midwest
NEW Flathead levels on 05/13/2013 11:48:48 MDT Print View

So Dave, How does that rank on the PR difficulty scale?

Has me wondering how wet the trails will be and how much of them could be underwater...

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
Temperatures and rising stream levels on 05/13/2013 11:53:17 MDT Print View

Yep, been watching that. In-flow at Twin Creeks is now over 20,100cfs, aka 13 feet deep. Also have to notice that this is after a weekend of upper 80's. The long range forecast through mid this week, and into late next week, is for highs about 2o degrees cooler and for cooler nights. As I recall it did this last year also about this time and then settled down for the second half of May, I see something similar setting up now. The long range weather patterns do not; however, seem to suggest a major spring storm is on the way like last year. Nevertheless it looks like some dicey stream crossings could be in the offering.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Middle Fork levels on 05/13/2013 14:52:07 MDT Print View

"So Dave, How does that rank on the PR difficulty scale?"

I'll just say that my plan had been to float down the Essex, use the Isaak Waltons phone, and drink a beer while waiting for a ride home. There's no effin way I'd packraft the Bear Creek to Essex stretch right now.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
New plan on 05/13/2013 17:36:58 MDT Print View

Dave, any pictures of the middle fork?

Since all the snow has melted off the trail, there isn't enough challenge in the hike. Now thinking that a ride down the middle fork in an inflatable duck could be much quicker. But that's only the backup plan.

I went ahead and put an order in for the weather. I ordered continued melt for the next 6 days with wind and rain followed by a cold snap with temperatures in the lower 30s through our weekend. That will give us low snow and low stream crossings. We will see if my order comes through.

Here's the interesting part of this adventure. The 25k cfs flow now really won't help the flow in two weeks. Right now using the Mt Lockhart data the melt is ten days ahead of median. (It was right in track two weeks ago) so if you assume that the middle fork is also ten days ahead it puts the flow at exactly the maximum median flow rate of 12,200 ft. While we won't have median conditions, it does show that the only real positive will be less miles of snow to walk through. Now we are at the mercy of the temperatures.

As an aside, will bugs be out this early? I know the Sierra goes from snow to bugs overnight, how about here?

Stubblefield creek
Where's my duckie?

Edited by gg-man on 05/13/2013 17:38:57 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO on 05/20/2013 08:36:54 MDT Print View

Malto: There were no bugs last year. IIRC, Dave said last year that bugs wouldn't be a concern this time of year.

My close to final gearlist is up in profile now. I'm feeling really good about it after testing most of it out on a recent 7 day packraft/hiking trip. 28 lbs skin out weight including food, packrafting setup and snowshoes.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Middle Fork on 05/20/2013 09:39:26 MDT Print View

Looks like the Middle Fork is back down to a more reasonable level, and the weather for the rest of the week is supposed to be a little cooler. Let's hope it stays that way.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Current River Forecast on 05/20/2013 09:59:10 MDT Print View

Still expecting above average flow for the weekend.
Flathead

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob Open final on 05/22/2013 08:23:37 MDT Print View

The conditions are settling in, and generally looking not too easy but not too harsh. Rivers are high but not terrifying, and will probably rise a fair bit with rain in the next few days.

Looks like I'll be getting into Benchmark fairly late Friday night. Looking forward to meeting everyone.

A final, pedantic but obligatory reminder of the spirit of the Open:

-There is no support or oversight provided. You are totally responsible for yourself. Leave a comprehensive route plan, with bail options and a series of emergency service call times, with someone you trust.

-It's not a race. I think it's valuable to share your experience with friends and strangers, but if someone wants to show up and tell no one afterwards, that is welcome too. It follows from this that meeting a pre-determined finish time should not cause you to do anything excessively risky. You probably won't see anyone aside from other Openers out there, and the rivers are big enough to wash you away and hide your body for years while the bull trout gnaw your bones.

-The mental side of these pursuits is the key to success and likely the reason we do it. Check yourself, make good choices, and don't hesitate to take a coffee break when psych is running low. The axiom of taking a 12 hour break before bailing is a good one.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Get out the pack rafts on 05/22/2013 20:04:25 MDT Print View

They might be needed on the trails.
Today
I was think of going the Spelt route but no way I'm crossing the middle fork at Shafer. It's looking like a run by the Wall then shoot over Sun River Pass. I think the tributaries will be enough excitement for this trip. I land in Great Falls tomorrow evening. I'm whimping out and staying at a hotel Thursday night. Look forward to meeting everyone Friday evening.

Edited by gg-man on 05/23/2013 05:03:56 MDT.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
Arrival at Great Falls on 05/22/2013 21:02:28 MDT Print View

We too are arriving tomorrow night at Great Falls. Might bump into you shopping for fuel canisters or Bear spray, neither of which travel well on airliners. 4000 cal of food huh? It is dried?

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Best Wishes on 05/22/2013 22:08:06 MDT Print View

I look forward to hearing about the adventures. I'm very much envious and little concerned for you all. Good luck and save travels to everyone.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Best Wishes on 05/22/2013 22:11:04 MDT Print View

Thanks David. We'll try not to get ourselves killed. Then how would we do all of the other cool trips we have planned for this summer?

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Best Wishes/ BMWO Cup on 05/22/2013 22:19:00 MDT Print View

Good luck and bring back the BMWO Cup back to the Bay Area or what ever it is you peeps are in competition for or just have a great time and be safe!

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: Best Wishes on 05/22/2013 22:50:34 MDT Print View

I was going to ask some of the locals to keep a watchful eye on the Californians but I thought that was a bit much. I am counting on you guys to come home safe.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: weather on 05/23/2013 07:34:51 MDT Print View

Woke up to an inch of fresh snow in the front yard (@ 3300') today.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
One last look at Middle fork on 05/24/2013 09:30:54 MDT Print View

Sitting in a cafe in Choteau and checked the middle fork forecast for the last time. Bottom line...... In two days the forecast went from levels approach flood stage to almost a best case scenario. The first chart is from a couple days ago, the second from now. Weather looking good as we speak but one thing I learned from watch the weather on the trip is that it is wrong and will change.

Tuesday
forecast from a couple of days ago

Now
Current forecast :)

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
I'm alive on 05/27/2013 17:00:39 MDT Print View

Sounds like at least three of us are living. Ran into four hikers that talked with Dave and heard that Dan is out. Look forward to seeing all the trip reports.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO Survivors on 05/28/2013 00:33:03 MDT Print View

Congrats on making it out. I'm looking forward to your trip report.

Yeah I arrived at Bear Creek Sunday evening (11pm). Gedney and I got unintentionally split up near mid creek gorge so I'm not sure where he's at. Twin Pass was tough - miles of snow/sidehilling. The whole thing was an excellent adventure.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: BMWO survivors on 05/28/2013 07:03:13 MDT Print View

Well done gents!

I made Bear Creek a little before noon yesterday. CO Greg was about 90 minutes behind me. Those four hikers saw Greg, not me. I was taking a nap in the sun at the time.

Four finishers of 11 starters. I anticipate everyone else to get in this afternoon or tomorrow.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
Great Trip, Good times on 05/28/2013 09:47:37 MDT Print View

Got out yesterday at 1:35 pm about an hour behind Dave. Dan and I got split up Saturday night about a mile above Midcreek takeout after I thought I saw him get flipped in his raft going through a narrow slot. I took out of the river to scout the slot (and dump another 6" of water out of the raft) and could not catch him as by then it was 9:35 pm. By the time I portaged around it was too dark and I was rather chilled. Everything froze that night and by the time I got things thawed out in the morning Dan had a 3 hour head start. Like Dan said, lower Twin Creek pass was a tough climb. I reached the top at 9:15 pm, Sunday night and descended into Long Valley, then lost all my light and had to bivvy in a tree well until 5:00 am. I found Dan's footprints in the snow and followed them down until the trail apperared from under the snow pack. Interestingly enough, while following the footprints I came across a fresh set of Grizzly tracks that were also following his track. Good times!! Trip report and photos to follow.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 05/28/2013 15:57:44 MDT Print View

Looking forward to the trip reports. I was camped out about 90 miles to the Southeast of y'all's start point and there was some NASTY weather throughout the weekend so I was constantly curious about how everyone was doing.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bob weather on 05/28/2013 19:55:10 MDT Print View

The weather was astonishing good overall. Saturday started cold and clear, and got downright hot by late afternoon. I was sweating like a pig working through the horizontal jungle gym that was the trail (deadfall) at that point. Saturday night was very cold, my shoes were so frozen I hiked in them for an hour Sunday morning before I could tie them. Sunday was gorgeous, and floating the upper half of the Middle Fork under 65 and sunny was just perfect. It rained pretty hard from 6-9pm, but I found a nice spruce under which I built a fire, and kept enjoying myself. Monday was cool and foggy until late morning, and got hot and sunny again in time for my aforementioned parking lot nap. We did hit a nice thunder squall driving back to town.

Honestly, if I hadn't been so darn tired by the end of each day it would have seemed almost casual.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 05/29/2013 07:53:20 MDT Print View

Thanks so much for the insight, Dave. Glad to hear such a tale of success. Looking forward to more write-ups!

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
made it out on 05/29/2013 10:14:57 MDT Print View

Chris, John and I made it out at 1AM last night. Great trip. The creek crossings were anything but casual.... i want a packraft!

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Good to see you made it out on 05/29/2013 10:29:12 MDT Print View

Andrew,

I was watching this thread since my return from Scotland and was eagerly waiting to hear that you made it.

Good to see you made it. Looking forward to get a detailed report and hear more about your river crossings.

Manfred

Edited by Orienteering on 05/29/2013 10:30:28 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: made it out on 05/29/2013 10:48:52 MDT Print View

Nice job guys! Lodgepole and 25 Mile were pretty stout crossings. The later went down enough overnight that I was comfortable crossing solo; if it hadn't I would have been pretty nervous.

Email me (dave at backpackinglight dot com) if ya'll are around this evening and want to grab dinner and/or beers.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: made it out on 05/29/2013 12:20:35 MDT Print View

Manfred, looking forward to your Scotland TR!

25 Mile Creek gave the route a nice sting in the tail at the end when we thought we were nearly finished. We found creative ways to get across both that one and Lodgepole.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Trip Report on 05/29/2013 12:58:31 MDT Print View

Andrew,

here is my trip report for Scotland.

I got some interesting weather over there too ...

Best Regards,

Manfred

Edited by Orienteering on 05/29/2013 13:20:49 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
The Straight-Forward Trip Report on 05/29/2013 15:16:06 MDT Print View

Day 0
I arrived at the Bear Creek Trailhead at about noon and slowly the group began to assemble. I sat looking at the Middle Fork of the Flathead River wondering if the raging torrent in front of me foretold what I would have to cross in two days time, thirty miles upstream. We drove the 168 miles to get to the start point, looking to the west at storms brewing at elevation. It was great putting faces to another BPL group and you could tell that there were many in the group that were hardcore adventurers. Luckily we avoided the rain at Benchmark and I was able to cowboy camp in the woods.

MF
Middle Fork, Flathead River at Bear Creek

Day 1 - The Wall
The 8am start time couldn't come fast enough. I was up at first light, body still on eastern time, like a crazed griz ready to hit the trail. It was very cool to see Dave setting up his pack raft. I could really see getting into pack rafting though I doubt there are many good streams to raft in PA. Ranger Craig met us at the trailhead to kick off the festivities. Take a cowboy from the 1800's and you had Ranger Craig. He asked about routes and when I described where I was heading and asked if he had any concerns, his response was "it's pretty Straight-Forward." That brought back memories of the Sierra High Route and Roper's "Straight-Forward" descriptions that he used for several of the more challenging passes on the route.

Dan
Dan ready to paddle through deep snow.

We were off. Soon Dave peeled off to raft the South Fork of the Sun and I continued with the Other Greg and Dan until the bridge over the West Fork.

Bridge
Bridge over West Fork – Last Human Interaction for 80 miles

At that point, I pretty much zoned out and flew up the trail making very good time. This was some of the nicest trail I have ever hiked.

trail
Perfect Trail

This lasted until mile 13 when the snow started to appear at 5800' and was solid at 6000'. While this slowed me down it was pretty straight-forward and soon I arrived at Cliff Mountain where the scenery became spectacular.

cliff
Cliff Mountain

The next 6 miles followed just below the Chinese Wall and was one of the coolest places I've ever hiked, especially with complete snow cover. Thankfully the snow was consolidated and relatively posthole free.

veiw
View from the Wall

c wall
Chinese Wall

I had a cornice break off the wall directly above me, the crack sounded like thunder. Routing was critical to keep me safely out of avalanche danger as well as avoid some steep terrain below. All in all, it was everything you want a trip like this to be. At the 26 mile mark I made my only navigation blunder of the trip. It was caused by a combination of fatigue, the fact that it was at the intersection point of three different maps and failure to pay attention. My data sheet had a waypoint labeled "near Larch Hill Pass" and I read Larch Hill Pass. I followed the map to Larch Hill Pass instead of continuing on the snow covered CDT to Spotted Bear Pass.

chinese wall
North End Chinese Wall with Larch Hill and Larch Hill Pass

I realized my error then decided it was the same difference in mileage going around the northern side of Larch Hill instead of the intended southern side. But when I hit the ridge coming off the north face I could see the route in front of me and I didn't like it. It was about 6:30pm and there was very steep terrain with cornices and I was losing daylight in a less than ideal area. I took my time and matched all terrain features with the map and soon discovered that there was a pass/saddle just the south east of Bungalow Mountain that would drop me directly into the Spotted Bear drainage via Hoop Creek. But to get there I would have to drop 1000' into the White River Drainage and climb up the south face of a mountain which looked to be snow free to reach the saddle off Bungalow. The distance was longer, it would require about 3 miles of off-trail bushwacking down to Spotted Bear River but it looked like 3 miles were free and clear trail.

I quickly bombed down Larch Hill and reached the clear trail without fanfare. It was great flying on good trail and I raced the setting sun to the top. Next, decision time. I was in solid snow at 6800'. Continue off-trail down steep terrain in the dark or crawl into a tree well and sleep. Wisdom won and I have never had a better night sleep in a tree well. It was just large enough to fit my body and I had to use my full food bag to level out my feet. I wasn't too worried about being attacked by a grizzly, he wouldn't have fit in the hole.

The day ended with about 30 miles, 14 on snow. I was happy with the progress especially with an 8am start. This would position me to cross the Middle Fork on Day 2 which was about 30 miles to the north.

Day 2 - The Mission – Middle Fork Flathead
I wanted to reach the Middle Fork today because the river forecast predicted a minimum level on Sunday. But first I had to come off the high ground and negotiate Pentagon Pass. I slept in a bit until 6:00 allowing the snow to soften, at least that was my rationalization. After packing up and hitting the snow I soon discovered ideal snow conditions, firm but with traction.

I flew down toward Hoop Creek, swerving and swooping to avoid some very steep terrain, definitely type 1 fun. At 6200' the snow turned to crap and I was off trail in a maze of fallen trees. There was no fast way through the mess and the last half mile took close to an hour. In spite of having a map and GPS it took forever to find the actual trail. It was only the bear prints that hinted at the trail below the rotten snow. Now some may say "but Malto you said that in snow it doesn't matter if you are on the trail or not.” That’s true when there isn't a million fallen trees to climb around vs. a relatively tree-free trail route.

At 5200' I was out of the snow and again the trail was very fast. I saw my first human footprints, though no print-making humans were visible. I took a much needed break at the empty Pentagon Ranger Station and plotted my assent of Pentagon Pass. The clear trail continued for several miles up Pentagon Creek until I walked into one of my least favorite snow conditions, residual snow drifts at about 5500'. These were four to six feet high and you go up and down repeatedly. I rediscovered how exhausting these conditions can be. But all bad things have to come to an end and soon I climbed away from Pentagon Creek into perfect snow conditions. Many feet of flat consolidated snow. I rounded the ridge and Pentagon Pass presented herself. She was drop dead gorgeous and looked similar to many of the Sierra Passes with a very steep and well defined head wall. The climb up was straight-forward but steep. I soon hit rock and I climbed to the top. The view was breathtaking and I could see for miles in all directions.

pentagon Pass
Pentagon Pass

top pentagon
View from atop Pentagon Pass

Coming off Pentagon Pass was incredibly fun. It was a half run, half shoe-ski down over deep snow. I made decent time but the snow continued below 5500' with 50/50 snow as low as 5200'.

snow
Snow conditions north of Pentagon Pass

The next few miles were rather boring, completely flat straight trail through trees. There was one highlight when a great view of the Argosy Mountain appeared.

argosy
Argosy(?) Mountain

I hit the Middle Fork at 6:30 just as the rain started. The river looked very straight-forward and I packed everything away and stowed the trekking poles preparing for a swim. I started crossing upstream from an obvious exit point and soon the water was waist deep. I wasn’t using my trekking poles and just as I was mentally preparing to dive in, I realized the water wasn't getting any deeper and I walked across. Bottom line, it was a waist deep fairly slow crossing, no major issue.

mf
Middle Fork Crossing

I was still very wet and I needed to hike some warmth into my body. It continued to rain and I was within easy hiking range for tomorrow so I stopped at the first flat spot and setup my tarp at about 8pm few miles beyond Shafer Air Field. This is rare for me to stop this early but I had plenty of time to finish tomorrow. My final mileage for the day was about 32 with about twelve miles in the snow.

Day 3 - One last challenge
I was home free, just a few minor stream crossings but nothing compared to the volume of the Middle Fork. A couple of miles into the day I hit Lodgepole Creek. Looked easy enough, I went in full of confidence from yesterday's crossing. Just before climbing out, my foot slipped and the waist deep fast water spun me around and I face planted fully into the stream. There were three casualties at that moment. My pride, which was no big deal. I also lost my map, also no major issue other than leaving a map in the Bob. But my iPhone was in my shoulder pouch in a ziplock bag. Safe enough.... Not. I was careless and left the pouch slightly open and the force of the water found some way of getting to the phone. Soon an Apple symbol appeared on the screen and the flash came on to drain the battery.

But between me and drying out my phone were many miles of trail with a few more stream crossings but more irritating were the hundreds of blowdowns. More on that in a minute. I had one more challenging stream crossing at Twenty-Five Mile Creek. I ended up scouting out my route more carefully than any previous crossing and I was able to cross intact. By this time I was soaked and I decided to change into my shorts since they were dry. This added a few minor war wounds but it beat having chaffing which was starting. I had one major encounter with a blow down. A branch broke as I crossed and I fell backwards getting hung up by my gear upside down. My former PCT hiking companions would have laughed themselves silly. I started laughing thinking about it and I soon felt better.

Before long the shorts were wet from the overgrown areas of the trail and chaffing was coming full steam. Not pleasant for an additional 15 miles. So I sped up the summer solstice and went butt naked from the waist down, drying my shorts by using them as a loin cloth in case any unsuspecting girl scout troop appeared. I will admit that it was refreshing and there could be something to the whole kilt thing, chaffing solved! Two miles from the end point I saw a group of four hikers in the distance. I quickly ducked into the woods and put on my now-dry shorts and met this friendly group. I found out that Dan and another hiker(I thought it was Dave, it was actually the Other Greg G) had already finished. That was good news. The final two miles were great, easy trail and I hit the trailhead at 3:30. finishing off the final 26 miles at a 3mph pace even with blowdowns and stream scouting. It was a fine day, great weather, just doesn't get any better this

mf2
Middle Fork gaining strength. Last picture before iphone crash

Gear
I took my 2011 PCT gear (see profile, few changes) with the addition of Cap 1 bottoms, my cuben rain suit and GPS. I did not take a short sleeve shirt. With 20/20 hindsight I wouldn't have changed a thing as far as gear. I used every single piece of clothing and gear that I carried and neither snowshoes or micro spikes would have provided any benefit.

Route
I had multiple routes planned depending on conditions. The route I took exceeded my expectations. I was originally going to do the Sun River Pass route but a friend told me I had to do the Wall if I was going to the Bob. Pentagon Pass ended up being the hidden surprise, and worth the extra miles of snow. The trip ended up being about 88 miles with 26 miles in solid snow. But it was the snow that turns the extraordinary into the super extraordinary. Seeing the Chinese Wall with solid snow and only my set of prints stretching behind me was some of the finest miles I have hiked. It also starts me thinking about whether I could pull off a CDT thru hike in the next few years.

Finally I want to thank Dave for pulling this together as well as exposing me to pack rafting. It adds yet another outdoor activity to my long list of pursuits. Now as I sit on the plane flying back to PA the question on my mind is "What's next?"

Edited by gg-man on 05/29/2013 15:26:52 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 05/29/2013 15:29:28 MDT Print View

> Seeing the Chinese Wall with solid snow and only my set of prints stretching behind me was some of the finest miles I have hiked.

Awesome.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Re: The Straight-Forward Trip Report on 05/29/2013 16:02:10 MDT Print View

Great trip report and cool photos. That makes me want to go out there.

Thanks,

Manfred

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: straight forward on 05/29/2013 16:18:17 MDT Print View

Malto, those are some extremely impressive miles. Way to haul, and do it in style.

Next step would be the Wilderness Classic. Want a partner for next year?

Chris Johnson
(MontanaChris)
Made it! on 05/29/2013 16:38:52 MDT Print View

Sam and I made it out yesterday afternoon! Will post pics and an update soon.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
re: straight forward on 05/29/2013 16:57:14 MDT Print View

I could really see getting into pack rafting though I doubt there are many good streams to raft in PA.

Not sure where you are in PA, but on the western side there's the Clarion, Stony Creek, Yough, and a little further south the Cheat and New River Gorge. Northeast is the Delaware Water Gap (tons of NJ tourists in summer though). I think I've heard the Upper Susquehanna is worth a look, though I haven't been there myself.

Nice report!

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BMWO on 05/30/2013 15:41:22 MDT Print View

Great trip report Malto. It was great to hike with you Saturday. That's an excellent route and achievement.

My trip report is now up in the trip reports section:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=77856

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Cyrus on 05/31/2013 16:10:34 MDT Print View

Have Cyrus and Katie exited yet?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
No word on 05/31/2013 16:25:31 MDT Print View

On Cyrus. Want to hear how your trip turned out. Trip report?

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
BMWO Survivors on 05/31/2013 20:34:42 MDT Print View

White Pass, White Rivers, White Water: The 2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open—Western Approach
Greg Gedney

Dawn broke cold and clear for eleven of us who gathered at the Benchmark Trailhead for this year’s attempt at BMWO. Several were returning from last year’s attempts and several more were out for their first run. Returnees Dan Durston and I had decided earlier to team up for this year’s event. Our route would take us up and over White Pass to the White River, where we anticipated some sporty rafting, then down to the SF Flathead River, terminating above Hungry Horse Reservoir at the Twin Creeks takeout. From there our path would cross the northern end of Dean Ridge, at the headwaters of the Twin Creek drainages and down Long Valley to the Middle Fork of the Flathead and on to the finish at Bear Creek. Weather conditions were far better than last year and we anticipated making a quick run of the course.
iGames faces set, participants listen to expected trail and weather conditions./i

Shortly after 8 AM and with all necessary preparations, ethics expectations and warnings dispensed, Dan, myself and Greg (AKA Hiking Malto) strode out of the parking lot at a brisk 3+mph pace and set off for the bridge crossing over the West Fork of the Sun River, about 4.6 miles distance.iWest Fork of the Sun River/i

By 9:30 we were across the West Fork and headed upriver to Indian Point. This was a portion of the same route I took last year, only this time without the fresh snow, rain and mud that so plagued the trail in 2012. Hiking Malto was in the mood to make tracks and it was not long until the three of us were spread out along the trail. This time I stopped to take pictures that I was unable to take last year due to the camera repeatedly fogging up.iDan trekking through open Meadows with Scarlet Mountain (8164’) in the background/iiWorking our way up Indian Creek toward White Pass./i

After fording across the WF Sun River at the mouth of Indian Creek, Dan and I headed upstream toward White Pass followed by the only mosquitos we would encounter the entire trip. Along the trail a set of large wolf prints led past us in the other direction. While I can’t completely swear on it, I’m sure the wolf that left these prints was the same one whose prints I saw on the trail the follows the SF White River last year, one valley over and about 6 miles to the south. For me it almost felt like a homecoming of sorts.

Remnants and tendrils of the winter’s avalanches still clogged many of the chutes that led down from high on the side of Red Butte. I noted with interest that many of the logs that had been pushed down from above now lay scattered and stacked, sometimes twisted around corners and pushed far down the stream bed that lay below In other places the fury of the seasons’ slides had been replaced by tranquil streams and fields of yellow, blue and orange flowers.iBroken piles of tree trunks and detritus left behind from multiple avalanches/i

For a short time Dan and I followed two sets of fresh footprints left by a couple of early season explorers whose tent camp we passed back along the SF of the West Sun. We thought they might actually lead us up into the snowfields that beckoned from above, but they petered out shortly after the avalanche chutes and we were once again completely on our own.

Somewhere off in the distance I heard a hawk cry out, its voice soon carried away in the wind. Fresh water was not hard to find and we filled and drank from our water bottles frequently in anticipation of deeper snow ahead. Last year I had issues with dehydration in this mountain range and ended up eating a lot of snow trying to make up for that deficiency. This year I was determined not to repeat my mistake.

The wolf tracks continued to greet us as we climbed above 6500’. We rounded a corner and faced the Indian Creek Basin in front of us. I could tell that the snow on the leeward (eastern) side of the pass was not as deep as last year. I could see cornices on many of the ridgelines around us, but nothing too loaded at the pass summit ahead. Several head of elk had crossed the pass from the west and their tracks now headed past us and down the valley. Perhaps my trepidation about the conditions we might find was proving misplaced after all.iRounding the corner at 6700”to face the Indian Creek Basin above./i

By 1:00 PM we were in solid snow and working our way up the drainage toward the saddle that makes up White Pass. We could see long lines of elk tracks leading down from the shoulder of the pass. After a final water bottle fill-up we pushed hard to reach the top of the pass at 2:00 PM. The snow on the western side of the pass was less firm and we broke through several times to our hips. I noticed that with my KEEN Mid Voyager boots I broke through less frequently than Dan, even given that our weights were nearly the same. The narrower insole of his shoes did not support him on top of the snow as well as my wider footprint. Neither of us needed our snow shoes on the climb, they became but mere passengers on our backs as we crossed the second summit line and descended into the Molly Creek Basin.

The snow on the descent was soft and we slid/ran/shoe skied down the other side until we came across the trail just coming out from under the snow pack. Here the trail was wet and thick with mud, similar to last year. I noticed with some amusement that the lone wolf whose tracks I had been watching with interest on the way up had also left his tracks all the way up the trail from the western side of the pass.iDan breaking trail on the eastern side of White Pass./iiWhite Pass Summit looking to the northwest./iiWhite Pass Summit/iiIn the mid-distance lies Junction Mt., in the far distance lies the Flathead Alps./i


We covered the roughly 6 miles from the summit to the confluence of the White Rivers in about two hours, arriving at 4:00 PM. Dan’s Trip Report does a great job of describing the fun we had freezing ourselves in the class II and III rapids on our way down the White River. I recall at one point sitting in 8” of ice water after the Velcro on the side of my spray skirt was overwhelmed by wave action. I also recall that after about an hour my legs began to cramp up from sitting in pools of ice water.

On the way down the river we watched as a loon made its way effortlessly through the rapids, bobbing along without a care in the world. At one point, about halfway down, I spooked a large Bald Eagle off the upturned roots of a river-washed log. It lifted off and flew on down the valley to someplace where it would not be disturbed again.

We made the confluence with the SF of the Flathead River a little after 6:00 PM and immediately headed down stream. This was a section I rafted last year and knew it would be easy going. While on the river we observed an osprey snatch a fish from the river and start flying upriver to its nest, prominently built on top of a tall standing snag on the banks of the river. However, once it drew near Dan the bird let the fish drop from a height of about 50 meters. It hit the water with a resounding splash -- one lucky fish.

At around 8:20 PM we passed Black Bear Creek and I had my closest call of the trip. Unknown to me (or Dan for that matter), at that location there exists a narrow slot with (at the CFS the river was running) a vicious hole on the backside. Dan went first and I followed. Dan seemed to clear it without incident but I foolishly slid to the left and right into the hole. Within seconds I was fighting a battle to avoid being pulled backward into the current rushing through the gap. I had to paddle as hard as any section of river I’ve ever been on (with some exceptions in Alaska) to dig myself out of the hole before being overturned and swamped in the roiling waters.

My arms were about to give out when I caught just enough of a side current to lift myself out and reestablish my path down the main river current. By now, I kind of wanted off the river. But we both were aiming to get to the Mid-Creek takeout by dark, around an hour downstream. Dan reports best on what happened but from my vantage point I witnessed the following: At 9:20 PM we came upon an unexpected slot with a large “limbo” log jammed across the entrance. The log was about eight feet above the water and Dan set up to shoot though the slot. I saw Dan enter, pitch bow up, at a crazy 45 degree angle, hang and drop left. I was sure he had flipped as he disappeared around the corner.iDan’s swimming hole with a log jammed across the entrance./i


I pulled my raft to the western bank and halted. I could not have cut to the eastern bank in time without also sliding into the slot. I had 6” of ice water in the raft at the time and there was no way I was going to attempt that slot after seeing what happened to Dan. It took me about 10 minutes to get my cramped legs to get to the top of the rocks that framed the slot and look downstream, but no Dan.

I drained the raft, portaged the slot and set up on top of the rocks that formed the chute. By then it was too dark to climb back down the other side and set off after Dan. I had to spend the night on top of the rocks. Shaking badly from the cold and perhaps a little dread, I made a fire and cooked a hot meal. That night every thing froze and it took me until 7:40 AM to once again set off. By the time I reached the Mid-Creek takeout, Dan (as he reported) had a three-hour head start on me and I could not catch him. But I had seen his footprints and at least I knew he was Ok!!iCamping spot above the river while drying out clothes./iiMid Creek Gorge, from trail above./iiClose-up of Mid Creek Gorge, running at 8000 cfs./i

I put back into the river below the Meadow Creek Landing strip and had an uneventful trip the rest of the way to the Twin Creek Takeout. Meeting a US Forest Service Ranger on the road to the Lower Twin Creek Trailhead I left a message for my wife as to when I thought I would get out and headed up the trail. The Cairn Map suggested that the trail up Lower Twin Creek would be rough and hard to follow. Fortunately, a trail crew had cleared the trail this past fall and it was an easy follow. Deep snow and side hilling greeted me near the top of the pass just as light was beginning to fade. I made the top of the pass at 9:07 PM and quickly descended into Long Valley below. By 10:00 PM I was out of light and set a camp in a tree well to wait out the night by a fire. I used my Bivvy bag to get about 6 hours of sleep.iFirm snow made the going relatively easy on both sides of Lower Twin Creek Pass./iiSundown on top of the divide between Lower Twin Creek and Long Valley./i


The next morning I headed out at 5:20 AM and within 30 minutes found Dan’s footprints leading down the valley through the snow. I also noted a set of fresh Grizzly tracks were following Dan’s. I assume I camped within a half mile of the bear that night as the tracks did not continue down the valley for long before turning to the side and disappearing into the woods and back up the valley.

The hike down the valley was straight forward and by 9:00 AM I was at the banks of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. I rafted less than one mile through two sets of rapids before calling it quits, taking my rafting victories and heading home.iLast Rapid before pulling out of the Middle Fork and the trail to the Bear Creek Trailhead./i

I arrived at the Bear Creek Trailhead to find Dave hanging out with Kate. We shared a couple of beers and had a few laughs before heading into town to meet up with M. My total time was 53.5 hours to cover the 97 miles. Next year I am going to take a lighter pack as I ended up not using my snowshoes. I also ended up with extra food; it’s going on my next summer trip shortly. My feet are in far better shape than the pounding they took last year too, a testament to the help I got from rafting this year.iBeer:30 at the Bear Creek Trailhead!/i

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
BWMO on 06/01/2013 07:53:50 MDT Print View

Awesome report (and trip) Greg. Looks like the second year that darkness got you trapped along the south fork.

I'd nearly forgotten about that Osprey already. It was great to read about all the signs of fauna (elk, wolf). In addition to the elk we saw along the south fork, I also ran into a nice one in the burn area of Long Creek.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
BWMO on 06/01/2013 08:31:43 MDT Print View

Greg, that was a great read, with fine photos. You guys are amazing.

Cyrus Dietz
(CyCalvin)

Locale: Midwest
BMWO 2013 on 06/01/2013 08:51:40 MDT Print View

Kate and I are back home in Minnesota and relaxing. We followed the same route as Dave up the west side of the sun, and made the same river crossing decision at Lick creek (opting to ferry the north fork in the calm section). As for 25 mile creek... I was shocked anyone found a way through that. Kate and I made the decision to boat around it on the Middle fork, a decision we were very satisfied with. Kate is working on a video trip report and I am sure she will be sharing it with everyone soon.

I really want to thank everyone that participated in this, it was really nice to meet all of you and I hope we find time to hang out again.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Twenty five mile creek on 06/01/2013 10:30:51 MDT Print View

I crossed just upstream of the trail, just below the log jam. It break the current into thirds. The last section was short but rapids. One other thing to keep in mind, you may have had higher water levels if you hit the creek later than the rest of us. I will say I have never scouted a crossing as long as that one. Glad to hear you're back. Hope to sea full report, with Kate's videos!

Greg,
Great trip report. Sounds like we virtually shared luxury accommodations Saturday night.

Edited by gg-man on 06/01/2013 11:18:55 MDT.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
BMWO Survivors on 06/01/2013 10:44:32 MDT Print View

John, how was your trip this year? Did you make it all the way out? Kate and I saw your car at the trailhead on Tuesday afternnon and were thinking about you.

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
John's Trip on 06/01/2013 11:47:29 MDT Print View

I traveled mostly of way with Andrew and Chris, finishing 1:04 AM Wednesday morning. As others mentioned, Lodgepole and Twenty Five Mile creeks presented some... challenges :)

The other obstacle for me was that my Achilles tendon started hurting, which is something I've not experienced before. The creeks proved to be effective ice packs though, so the water crossings ended up being a mixed blessing for me after all.

I've compiled a bunch of notes and will write them into a TR soon.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
25 mile creek on 06/01/2013 19:14:36 MDT Print View

We had dinner with Andrew and Chris Wednesday night. 25 Mile certainly gave them some troubles.

I camped on the eastern side Sunday night, partly because I was bushed and it had a dry tree and ready wood, and partly because the crossing looked burly. The next morning I crossed right above the trail to give myself a bit of leeway should I get pushed downstream. It seemed like the level had dropped a decent bit overnight, but that might have just been added courage from a good nights sleep. I faced upstream and leaned hard into a trekking pole. Waist deep and fast, but not too bad. I did put my PFD on as extra insurance.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
2014 Bob course on 06/03/2013 13:37:30 MDT Print View

Looks like 100% finish rate. Amazing what good weather will do.

Looking for feedback on a course for 2014. Longer? Shorter? (Not gonna happen) Concrete ideas on start and end point?

I've discussed moving it away from the Bob complex, but that won't happen next year. The mixed geography and scale of the Bob works well for our needs. The only real downside is the massive shuttle from start to finish, but there is simply no way around that. A traverse has a different dynamic than a loop, and nothing else will do.

One thing I would like to do is arrange for a cabin or some kind of accomodation to promote more socializing at the start. My only regret this year was that life did not allow me to get the start earlier and spend more time talking with everyone.

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
2014 Course on 06/03/2013 17:15:25 MDT Print View

As an audit of one's outdoor abilities the length seems about right to me. Both years' traverses have allowed for both packrafting and foot options. I'm not sure how the format could be altered much. The Memorial Day weather seems to carry an interesting level of uncertainty to it that is part of the appeal.

An argument can be made that the "winner" of the Open is the person who traverses the most [insert your adjective here] route, so perhaps more recognition could be offered to encourage creative-bold-scenic-challenging routes, or not, according to each participant's measure. I note that the winner of the original World Series of Poker was proclaimed by a vote of the participants before the current format was adopted.

I agree that the biggest thing lacking has been a pre-function gathering of some sort. Luckily, I arrived at Bear Creek early and had an opportunity to interact with folks a bit before the carpools dispersed.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
2014 BMWO on 06/03/2013 18:06:29 MDT Print View

Longer is always good, but more importantly just not significantly shorter. I'll have a look at the maps.

Are we allowed to propose a course that crosses parts of the Bob and Glacier?

A cabin would be great for pre-event socialization and allow it even in poor weather.

Edited by dandydan on 06/03/2013 18:08:05 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2013 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open on 06/03/2013 18:11:07 MDT Print View

I think avoiding National Park Service territory would be advised. USFS, BLM, FWP lands probably ok.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: 2014 Bob Open on 06/03/2013 18:16:09 MDT Print View

I am open to any and all ideas, with a few caveats.

Being in Glacier NP is (unfortunately) a non-starter. Regulations concerning vaguely organized events are rather different, and the need for BC permits would seriously alter the style.

Memorial day weekend will remain the date, for certain and ever. No other time of year provides the same experience.

I do want to keep making each year doable without a packraft. That said, I do intend to keep elevating the role water will play in route planning.

Length is a tricky thing. Originally I wanted the course long enough to be big, but short enough that if someone wanted to do 15 mile days, it would still be doable in a week.

Jon, your idea about rewarding creative route options is dear to my own heart. My hope is that as participation slowly grows, folks will come along and do routes which are obviously not the quickest, just the most fun for them. That should reflect in the reports and encourage similar behavior.

I suppose I should conclude by coming out and saying that my first pick for 2014 is Challenge Cabin to Monture Creek TH. Not sold on that by any means, though.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
2014 Course on 06/03/2013 18:23:59 MDT Print View

It can't be too far south because I discarded the bottom 1/4 of my map :)

Edited by dandydan on 06/03/2013 18:24:56 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Combo, bob and Glacier on 06/03/2013 19:34:23 MDT Print View

How do they treat trips that originate outside of the park then end or go through the park? As far as organized, this is no more organized than any meetup trip like the one that some BPLers are planning in the upper NY state. I looking for a creative way to make Glacier work because that could be the ultimate Memorial Day trip. the Bob could work again. With the significant difference in weather each year an identical start and end point next year would be a whole different trip.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
2014 thoughts on 06/03/2013 22:11:52 MDT Print View

I like the idea of something in the 100 plus mile range as it leads to multiple options. I for one will be mulling over the task through the summer and hope to have a more substantive response after further map review. However, by all means lets start further south as it gives Dan something to dig through the trash for :) Thanks everyone for the enjoyable time! Time to ponder...

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: 2014 on 06/05/2013 11:01:10 MDT Print View

At first glance, Challenge to Monture looks long and intimidating and even made me a little scared. Sounds perfect.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Glacier and the Bob 2014 on 06/05/2013 13:21:00 MDT Print View

It is probably true that we're not "organized" enough to run afoul of GNP regs. Not many people get permits in late May, so they'd figure out something was up pretty fast.

The larger issue is that Glacier terrain is bigger enough that a point to point course wouldn't offer more than one or two obvious routes. Though in late May and with proper care some bold folks with mountaineering skills could take some big shortcuts. One option for folks, especially those on vacation, would be to do a more mellow prologue over a couple days in Glacier, resupply at the Open start, and continue on. Might do that myself, in fact.

Though I'm leaning heavily towards the Bob for next year, I do intend to do a very snowy, high mountain course somewhere else, and soon. The Beartooth Plateau is a leading candidate, but I need more personal experience to evaluate the possibilities. I'd like a route where hikers, skiers, and snowshoers all have an roughly equal chance at being the most efficient answer.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
2013 Bob report on 06/12/2013 08:39:07 MDT Print View

Got the summary report together here: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2013/06/12/2013-bob-marshall-wilderness-open-the-officially-unofficial-report/

Cyrus and Kate, and Sam and Chris, if ya'll want more details of your journeys in there I'd be glad to add them.