2016 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open
Jul 30, 2015 at 10:07 am #1331205
Bean Lake CG near the Dearborn River to the Cedar Creek CG on the Swan River. Start will be May 28th at 0800.
I'd like to put a special note in, that while this hike/event/thing emphasizes the more athletic side of backpacking there is no need to feel like you need to go fast. I'd like to see more folks show up on the one week, <20 mpd plan.
Plenty of fun routes for packrafters and non-packrafters alike.Jul 30, 2015 at 3:48 pm #2218145
Sweet- thanks for organizing this again :)
MikeAug 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm #2219259
Dave- question if I may- looking at the map I'm seeing both campgrounds (start/finish) a fair distance from any trail heads, am I looking at it correctly? is the actual start/finish at the campgrounds proper? are you looking to utilize your mountain bike? :)
MikeAug 6, 2015 at 10:00 am #2219373
Start and finish are at the actual campgrounds.Aug 6, 2015 at 10:26 am #2219377Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Probably going to do some easier packrafting routes.Aug 6, 2015 at 10:35 am #2219379Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Move to change the name for this year's event to:
The Bob Gross Marshall Wilderness Open
Or just to piss him off:
The Bob Gross Marshall Wildirness OpenAug 6, 2015 at 11:08 am #2219384
I'll revisit the maps, but looks like a bike at the beginning and end could be advantageous- obviously can't be used within the Wilderness boundaries, but could cut time down vs walking roadsAug 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm #2219423
Kodi, my Norwegian Elkhound sidekick and I are new to you all, but actually we've been following BMWO posts since their inception, and have been hiking the Bob Marshall for the last four years. As I told Dan D in a PM, I had hoped to intercept some of you guys at Meadow Creek earlier this year and hike a few miles, but a broken fuel pump and an "entertaining" grizz in camp kept us preoccupied a little ways down from there near Cedar Flats.
I see quite a few unique opportunities in this year's route selection. First, drop off and pickup parking should be no problem at the campsites. Second, before the start of the race, i.e., before entering Bob Marshall proper, one might be able to stop and pray for safety at the 'Montana Wilderness School of the Bible' (MWSB C-N Mission – cbarnmission.org . Joking aside, from there it's into the wild crossing the L-C Range, with great rafting opportunities eventually leading into the S Fork, then up either Gorge Creek or Bunker Creek to Goat Creek and out. The reason I mention this now is to give fair warning. For those who take the Bunker Creek route there's a strong chance you won't make it out till the next morning as Kodi and I will probably be camped at Gorge Creek Trailhead handing out ice cold beer. This year we are at your service. Although we will be camped near that area, we are also willing to offer rides and shuttle.
Some info I pulled off the web:
Bean Lake: Fishing Access surrounds half the lake: the other half is private land that has cattle frequently grazing right down to the shoreline. Primary fish are rainbow trout, which are planted each year by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department. The lake is quite isolated, 15 miles away from Augusta. To get there, go south on Stearns-Augusta road and follow the signs to Bean Lake. Free camping.
Devil's Glen – Dearborn River Trail (Trail 206), 7 miles roundtrip, see "Hiking Montana" page 215/268. Moderate. The emerald Dearborn River crashes through a series of limestone chutes in a narrow canyon beneath Steamboat Mountain.
Directions: travel 5.8 miles passed Bean Lake, turn left into the Dearborn trailhead near end of road. This road passes through the MWSB C-N camp before the trailhead. The road past the trailhead is private and gated. There is an interpretive sign featuring info on the Canyon Creek fire that burned through much of the area in 1988. The first 1.5 miles of the trail is through private property — please respect the private landowners and stay on the trail. More info at: helenair.com/news/local/devil-s-glen-one-of-many-montana-areas-considered-for/article_e9412f0c-b257-11e3-bdd1-0019bb2963f4.htmlAug 6, 2015 at 9:34 pm #2219482Tanner KBPL Member
Interesting. I'm also a little lukewarm on the route options for this one, but haven't really looked at the maps. Not really a fan of walking roads to get to trailheads (see 2014 Bob Open) and imagine it wouldn't be any more fun walking roads after being out of the wilderness. It just seems like a lot of non-wilderness miles in this one, but I do like that it touches the Scapegoat. Rafting on the Swan is fun, but usually doesn't require a 70 mile hike first.
Who knows, I'll probably get the maps out this winter and get attached to a route. Or, maybe I'll come up with something a little different. Regardless, it's going to be better to be in the mountains than not.
Dave, did you mean May 28? Or is this thing starting on Monday next year?Aug 7, 2015 at 2:00 am #2219501
Mike, Tanner, Justin, and the gang,
I was going to wait till the forum cranked up a bit before an intro, but Mike's bicycle suggestion prompted me to a quicky post. Why ride a bike when I can offer shuttle service to the trailhead? In fact, being the enterprising unofficial NPO that I am, for a measly donation of your choice (say, tossing me a redback, a few bones for Kodi, bartering unwanted BPL gear, or even just invaluable trekking knowledge and chat, all in exchange for free beer, pepsi, hot coffee at Bunker/Gorge), I could be coerced into dropping anyone off at any nearby trailhead, if any others nearby? The alternative – hiking from Bean Lake – requires either a 5.8 mile walk down a gravel road to Dearborn Trailhead, or researching private land surrounding the area and obtaining permission to cross.Aug 7, 2015 at 5:35 am #2219513
Don very gracious and thanks, but Dave clearly stated the start and finish are at the campgrounds- accepting a ride would not fall into "under your own power", while a bike (or hike) would
Hope we get to meet up this year, if you're handing out cold beer at the finish I can assure you that you will meet all of us :)
MikeAug 7, 2015 at 9:11 am #2219563
Tanner, date fixed. Thanks for catching that.
Don, please don't offer rides or hang out offering handouts mid-course. Both of those things are contrary to the rules and spirit and anyone taking you up on either would be subject to "disqualification", something I hope never has to be seriously discussed. To be blunt, this is a participants-only affair. Shorter routes like John, Morgan and Justin did this year are a perfect option for those disinclined to tackle the full deal, but I'll take this as an opportunity to actively discourage anyone else from doing more than showing up to hang out at the start.
The Open has been tiny thus far, and as it grows it is imperative that the high standard of behavior thus far maintained continues. We need impeccable relations with the land managers for a variety of reasons, and keeping things small is a big part of that.Aug 7, 2015 at 10:41 am #2219582
Dang it! Now I have to get my airline tickets changed. No, not really, but I am prone to doing such things. Next BMWO, I will be travelling north from my new home of Guanajuato, Mexico. I have already done some internet reconnaissance on locations South of the Border to train using a packraft.
According to BMWO rules, would a bicycle, and/or bikerafting, be an acceptable mode of transportation across the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex if carried or pushed on trails that only allow hiking?Aug 7, 2015 at 10:58 am #2219586
Bikes in Wilderness is a grey area. Consensus in Montana (based on very little evidence) is that wheels cannot touch the ground, so break it down and carry it. That's the official policy in Grand Canyon NP and will I hope end up being the standard elsewhere.Aug 7, 2015 at 10:59 am #2219587
Derek I was a wilderness ranger in the Bob many moons ago and just the possession of a bike (or chainsaw or other) was a violation. That may have changed, but not likely- still worth checking w/ the USFS as my info is only 30 years old :)
Outside the Wilderness boundary bikes are not a problem. It's possible that we might be able to work out a group bike shuttle if that's something other folks are considering.Aug 7, 2015 at 11:06 am #2219588
Well, I kind of did look into it. Sorry for not being more open about that, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to get (or the event) in trouble by violating a regulation. Oh, it would've been such an awesome way to cross The Bob.
The official answer:
Thank you for contacting the Flathead National Forest. It is prohibited to bring a bicycle inside the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, even if you are carrying it. I have attached a copy of a Wilderness Regulations poster for you, which lists the prohibitions including that regarding bicycles as listed below:
BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS COMPLEX PROHIBITIONS
* Possessing or using a bicycle, wagon, cart, wheelbarrow, or other vehicle, (57(h)).
Good luck planning your trip. If you have any further questions, you can call the Spotted Bear Ranger Station at 406-758-5376.
Laura C. Mills Nelson
Administrative Support Assistant
Flathead National Forest, Spotted Bear Ranger District
PO Box 190340
Hungry Horse, MT 59919
http://www.fs.fed.usAug 7, 2015 at 11:10 am #2219589
Sometimes things don't change even in 30 years :)Aug 7, 2015 at 11:54 am #2219597
There you go. Thanks Derek.Aug 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm #2219602
No problem, I work in a cubicle all day and spend 50% of my time planning routes for the next BMWO. I imagine most of the other BMWO-ers are out in the woods looking for their next meal or continuously making repairs on their cabins before winter arrives.Aug 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm #2219640
Derek- not so much time looking for the next meal, but avoiding becoming one! :)
MikeAug 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm #2219643Kevin BuggieBPL Member
@kbugLocale: NW New Mexico
The correction from 30 May to 28 May, bumps me from getting up there in time for the official start.
A weekend start did seem more logical, but I was stoked for a record late start date on May 30 as my work year ends on May 26.
Looking forward to following this thread, regardless.
Run-off forecasting/speculation 9 months out; how does an El Nino winter affect the snow pack in the Bob? Any real trends to rely on or is the runoff (during the BMWO window) still primarily dependent on the melt-season weather timing?
Edit to add:
the more I look into the logistics maybe I can pull off the travel from Albuquerque to Augusta (relatively close to Great Falls airport!)in a single day with time to buy bear spray or pick-up via general delivery at the PO.Aug 8, 2015 at 12:26 am #2219707
Thank you for your response. I knew that post would have to bring you into the subject about using a bicycle in the BMWO, which is strictly forbidden in all wilderness areas as are any wheeled vehicles of any sort. This is not a "grey area" at all. I have run into this issue before with hunters trying to use collapsible carts to haul out game. This, being a violation of federal law within the Bob, degradates the 'spirit' of the BMWO ("self-contained"), be it use within or outside of the Bob. I'm sorry, it's just an opinion, but starting the BMWO 6 miles outside of the Bob seems to involve other violations as well – degradating the spirit. For example, there is the traversing over private property issue. And having 30 or so participants marching 6 miles down a gravel road to the trailhead. I had to review the rules: "No linear travel on…roads." I don't mean to put you on the spot, but perhaps now you can understand the reason for my initial post(s). You're effectively moving the BMWO outside of the Bob Marshall.
-You must be entirely self-supported and self-contained. Take everything you need, and leave nothing but footprints. Any pre-planned assistance of any kind is forbidden.
-Any form of human-powered locomotion is allowed within the identified course area. No linear travel on the surface of paved roads .
-You are responsible for you. Come prepared for challenging conditions which can easily, with improper luck or preparation, turn life-threatening. Any and all contingency and emergency plans must be arranged by each individual.Aug 8, 2015 at 8:03 am #2219737
Ellipses are the devil Don. Paved is the word for a reason, as past years make obvious.Aug 9, 2015 at 6:02 am #2219912
Would you care to elucidate the hazy obscurity?
I was trying to offer a realistic solution and alternative to travelling over public roads and private property to get to the trailhead within the Bob Marshall where it should be. Reviewing the posts I see that others also dislike the idea of walking roads. Further, I took it for granted that Mike was referring to using a bike just to get to the trailhead, since you are not allowed to use one within any wilderness area, and I can't imagine buschwacking 100 miles with a disassembled bike on your back? Here again, I find the use of such mechanical devices to be a degradation to the spirit of the Bob Marshall as being a primitive wilderness area. However, I do see that it is permitted in BMWO rules. This is very interesting. Apparently one can even use a glider or human-powered lighter-than-air craft to fly over the Bob without ever even touching the ground.
BTW, [Oh, and sorry for using an alphabetic abbreviation. As with ellipses, I'm sure they are the devil] we are officially in an El Nino (5 consecutive 3-month running mean of sea surface temp anomalies…above (below) threshold of +0.5°C (-0.5°C) ). In conjunction with current global warming trend, this El Nino is predicted to be perhaps the strongest one we've ever had. Similar or stronger than 82-83 and 97-98. Historically, this means less snow and warmer temps for the Bob.Aug 9, 2015 at 8:01 am #2219931
"Would you care to elucidate the hazy obscurity?"
Four years of use (and a further 30+ with the Wilderness Classic) have shown the guidelines as currently written to be effective in all respects. If they're undesirabley ambiguous and/or someone cannot understand the options presented by the 2016 start/finish locations then said individual is simply not welcome.
It's important to me that the Open remain just that, and important that I not end up as an explicit rule-enforcing figurehead. The aforementioned vagueness functions as a gate keeper, no question about that, but at the same time I have no intention of ever taking and vetting applications or anything of that sort. I've had plenty of conversations with folks both locally and far-flung concerning why I do things as I do, most of which have ended with the folks deciding the Open wasn't for them, at least not yet. There is good reason why less than 40 different people have lined up in four years, and it is not because of lack of physical ability. It's the lack of the proper mindset, the one required to deal with ambiguity and the (mental) suffering which comes with it. This is as it should and needs to be.
Don, your enthusiasm is obvious, I appreciate it, and I'm sorry your public introduction to the Open and BPL communities had to go this way. Frankly, the suggestions in your initial post were so wildly contrary to the history of the Open and it's predecessors that I was taken aback. However, you made those statements in public and thus they needed to be immediately corrected. My irritation has to do with your perseverance and with what seems to be an egregious lack of relevant background and knowledge. Perhaps I am mistaken on that last.
Regardless, with the relatively large number of finishers this year, the Open may be at a cusp, one which I've seen lead in short order to cheating. At an event I organized years ago I had a guy transparently lie to my face about finishing the route when he took shortcuts, and this year (like many years in the past) the Tour Divide (which passes through town) has seen folks taking prearranged support in fairly blatant ways. No step will ever be sufficient to forever curb the desire of humans to lie to themselves via lying to the public, but I will do everything I can to discourage it.
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