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2014 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open: Marias Pass to Monture Creek
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spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Roll call on 05/14/2014 08:05:29 MDT Print View

So, I'm in. I will be travelling from Des Moines. Maybe we could start getting some carpool arrangements made, or at least get some confirmation of who all is definitely coming?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Final Bob update on 05/18/2014 17:09:23 MDT Print View

I got out hunting this weekend in what will be my last visit to the Bob before go time. Take the following as a final briefing/caution.

Saturday was pretty sunny and warm. The South Fork at Twin Creeks bumped above 13,000 cfs, and the North Fork of the Blackfoot above 2000 cfs at Dry Gulch (which is an impressive sight). The long term forecast has temps climbing up into the 80s towards the end of the coming week.

April and May have overall been cool, and as a result snow melting has primarily occurred due to sun exposure, as opposed to temperature. Low elevations are clear, mid-elevations are mixed, and high elevations have a lot (lot!) of snow.

Combine these last two facts and I expect a few things come 0-day.

Rivers and creeks will be big. Very big. Expect significant route complications due to water hazards. If there's a big cold snap 10 days hence this could not happen, but I think that not very likely.

Snow has the potential to throw a few serious curveballs at folks. Pay very close attention to aspect and tree cover. Longer miles could be a lot faster this year.

Good luck.

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
too many commitments and not enough time for the ones I want on 05/20/2014 14:04:18 MDT Print View

As much as I wanted to join everyone this year I have a prior commitment in Alaska that will not allow me the time to complete the 2014 BMWO. Trained for it all winter, but sometimes things just don't work out and having the event a week later this year kind of crunched my schedules too much. Stay safe our there and watch your water crossings. Still have my eyes on next year.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Water treatment on 05/21/2014 14:13:44 MDT Print View

Is it absolutely necessary?

Greg Gedney
(ggedney) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountain Region
bummer on 05/21/2014 16:58:29 MDT Print View

In a real way, yes. I've committed to helping our some people who are in a bit of hard way. The timing would mean I'd have to whip everyone's butts by a sub 48 hour cross county ski sprint and you are all too good to let that happen.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Water treatment on 05/21/2014 17:54:15 MDT Print View

I stopped treating my water after the first day out of sheer laziness and I didn't get sick. Lots of snowmelt and runoff that time of year to dilute the bad stuff.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Water treatment on 05/21/2014 22:02:44 MDT Print View

That's what I was thinking. One of Dan's reports mentions he lost his water bottle mid-way and didn't get sick. Thanks for the data point!

Cyrus Dietz
(Cyrus)

Locale: Midwest
Event timing on 05/22/2014 09:16:26 MDT Print View

Kate and I are having a hard time getting on board for this years event. We both really want to do it and are prepared for it, but the trailhead shuttling logistics, combined with the very long route required are leaving me short on time to return home for my kid's graduation ceremony.

I came to the conclusion my only option was to rent a car to spot at the destination, then start the event a couple days earlier to ensure I was home on time. Also the car spotting and shuttle thing requires about 1000 miles of driving in addition to the 2000 miles round trip to visit Montana, and the car rental adds several hundred dollars in gas and fees. So with the extra cost, extra driving time, tight schedule... It just isn't coming together smoothly.

We are still heading for the Front Range this Saturday and will be in the area for 11 or 12 days. I am still open to options and I am considering my alternatives.

Oh and I have no problem drinking from the small feeder streams, given the source...

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Roll call on 05/22/2014 10:42:07 MDT Print View

I worked out my schedule. I'll be getting in Friday early to mid-afternoon. Sorry to see people can't make it, I was really looking forward to meeting you! Hopefully there is still a decent turnout.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Re: Roll Call on 05/22/2014 13:18:14 MDT Print View

Corp office scheduled a full-store inventory for us on May 31. Every mile I've run and route planned and memorized since last October tells me that I'll make this trip but it will have to be next year.

Dave: I've been watching snowfall and flow rates on NOAA and they are impressive. Have fun with your bikepacking - that's your game-plan, correct?

All: stay safe and have a great time!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Bob Open on 05/27/2014 07:25:36 MDT Print View

The shuttle drive is a long one, and I am sorry folks are finding it hard to manage. I just got back from my sisters wedding and will have a difficult enough time fixing things at work and getting myself ready.

I am not bringing a bike, though there is at least one decent way to complete this route with one. The snow and mud make May a not ideal time for it. Still on the fence with snowshoes, and more than a bit nervous about what the packrafting will be like.

M and I will probably make it to the Snowslip for dinner between 730 and 800 Friday night.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Bob Open on 05/27/2014 19:08:15 MDT Print View

How does this work if there's no BPL carpool? I honestly have not done a hike in an area this remote before. Can I expect to be able to hitch up to catch a ride with you, Dave? I'm on a schedule getting back and having to fetch my car from Marias would make it much more difficult.

Sorry to sound like a newb. My hikes are almost always loops b/c I so rarely have someone able to shuttle.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: Bob Open on 05/28/2014 08:09:44 MDT Print View

It works by being a pain; no other way around it.

Hitching from Monture up to the Flathead is quite doable, but things being what they are these days I'd leave yourself all day Friday if possible. The dirt road from the TH back to pavement doesn't get a ton of traffic, but 200 and 83 are both well traveled.

I'll send you an email Spelt.

Cyrus Dietz
(Cyrus)

Locale: Midwest
Bob Marshall on 05/30/2014 20:55:24 MDT Print View

Good luck with your routes tomorrow. Kate and I just wrapped up a 75 mile loop in the Bob this morning. We found snow before 6000 feet and more than 8 feet deep at 7700 feet. The water levels were epic this week making stream crossings hairy. We had the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife including a huge black bear.

We spent an entire day above snow line and half of that time in crampons, but never needed snowshoes.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
BMWO on 06/03/2014 09:13:19 MDT Print View

I'm out and back home. More snow than I expected and a lack of legs to go fast enough through it had me 7 miles behind schedule the first day, and more of the same and scouting (and not running) some big rapids on the N Fork Sun had me 20 behind by the end of day two. Lacking the time, food, and most importantly inclination to push through and finish on that 4+ day schedule, I paddled out Gibson yesterday morning.

Quite the contrast to last years low snow and low water. I wore snowshoes for close to 10 miles straight going over Badger Pass. Strawberry Creek where most crossed it last year was absolutely not doable on foot. Sun River pass, which had maybe 9 linear feet of snow last year, had perhaps 3/4 of a mile all told this year.

Even truncated, this was a great route. Most of the first day was all new to me, and made for enjoyable walking and snowshoeing. The North Fork of the Sun between Wrong Creek and Headquarters Creek might be my new favorite stretch of floating in the Bob. Going over Sun River pass I saw a big bachelor herd elk who already had impressive antlers in full velvet. The whole Sun River valley was greener than I've ever seen it, with flowers everywhere.

It'd be easy to say that I should have been more realistic, packed a bit more food, and given myself a bit more time. Dealing with fairly challenging and potentially hazardous conditions on a tight schedule was not enjoyable. Then again, I only learn best by doing. As my own inclinations change 30+ mpd and the suffering which goes with it is less and less compelling. I've been there and done it, and have no need to reprove that I can still do it. I'm not sure what and where the future of the BMWO will be, but I imagine it will involve some way of de-emphasizing the more severe athletic aspects while still encouraging folks to get out in challenging conditions.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: BMWO on 06/03/2014 09:15:24 MDT Print View

Btw four of us showed up Saturday morning. Tanner and Tyler (?) from Missoula and Bozeman headed east; not sure of their route. They were raftless and snowshoe-less and hoping to finish on Tuesday or Wednesday. Spelt was following a route similar to mine, and had a raft. His car is still in our parking lot so he's still out there somewhere.

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
BMWO on 06/03/2014 16:36:48 MDT Print View

"Dealing with fairly challenging and potentially hazardous conditions on a tight schedule was not enjoyable... As my own inclinations change 30+ mpd and the suffering which goes with it is less and less compelling... I'm not sure what and where the future of the BMWO will be, but I imagine it will involve some way of de-emphasizing the more severe athletic aspects while still encouraging folks to get out in challenging conditions"

I had a similar reflection over the last few days. I had gone down to Tahoe to attempt the THT on an aggressive schedule, but after surveying the area ultimately decided that I wouldn't have fun (especially with lingering snow) at that pace over that distance. I could have enjoyed the shorter Western States Trail, but it was full of poison oak. On the drive back I kept wishing I could have made the BMWO logistics work.

My suspicion is that events like these will settle into a ~100 mile format. That seems short enough for people to sustain ambitious paces (if inclined) and for people to take the time off, but long enough to offer obstacles and challenge. For my part, I'd love to tour in new areas that, honestly, I might never motivate myself to visit otherwise.

It also occurred to me (it's a long drive between Tahoe and Seattle, so a lot of things occurred to me) that if an event is truly not a race, then you only need to have one fixed location, either beginning or end, as is done in the TGO Challenge. For instance, start at Benchmark and end anywhere along Highway 2 (or the other way around).

Anyhow, the topic was on my mind. I'll be at the Packraft Roundup next month if you want to discuss.

Edited by johnstl on 06/03/2014 16:37:46 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: BMWO on 06/03/2014 17:14:24 MDT Print View

David,
thanks for the update. the main reason that I failed to show this year was because I couldn't get the math to work out on the distance, conditions and my window. The amount of food that would have needed to carry would have weighed me down and further slowing me down. I definitely would have liked to do a return trip, maybe next year. Look forward to seeing the full report.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: BMWO on 06/03/2014 19:07:15 MDT Print View

John, I agree on your distance thoughts, and like the idea of a fixed start but only a certain zone for the end. See you in July. Should still be plenty of water!

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: BMWO on 06/04/2014 10:00:03 MDT Print View

Dave, I'm glad you made it out safe and had what sounds like a good experience. Given that you saw so much snow on Badger Pass I wonder what it would've been like down by Hahn Creek or Limestone Pass. A good reminder that we got pretty lucky with the conditions last year especially given what you said about Strawberry Creek. Out of curiosity, did you get a look at the crossing of the South Fork Two Medicine? Based on my estimates, that would've been the most difficult crossing of the route that I had planned, if I had been able to make it this year. I definitely feel a strong pull to come back to the Bob after the great experience last year - maybe a packrafting trip in July or August would be a more civilized undertaking.

Fingers crossed for Spelt and the other guys. I'm looking forward to seeing some pictures.

You still thinking about doing the Sierra High Route sometime?