2020 Bob Marshall Wilderness Open
May 2, 2020 at 7:16 pm #3644768Nathan SeymourBPL Member
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Scott,</p>
Thanks for the info. Near me, there’s a good 12-24 inches at 7k still. This surely won’t be my first time in the backcountry, spending nearly all my trips in the backcountry of the Beartooths, but it will be my first time more than a few miles into the Bob.
In planning my route, I chose to attempt to take the fewest number of passes and climbs in exchange for a bit of monotony of FS road hiking while keeping the mileage to a minimum. We’re honestly planning to take 3.5 days to do this and know it won’t be a race for us, but a good challenge to push ourselves.
NOTE: Likely leaning towards snowshoes. We won’t be doing any sort of water based travel.
Anyway, here’s the link for any/all input.
Thanks from a BMWO noob.May 2, 2020 at 7:22 pm #3644772
I know when I made my first run … err … slog through the Bob, I read every trip report I could find. That was helpful to at least visualize the conditions one might expect. I plan to start my trek sometime the week before Memorial Day. Some of my recent exploratory missions have revealed snow. “Plenty of snow.” As Mike said.May 2, 2020 at 10:22 pm #3644798
Route looks good to me. I’d flag a couple potential sticking points to think about as you monitor conditions.
If the water is high (above 10-12k on the forks of the flathead maybe as a quick and dirty rule of thumb) your ford of the upper reach of the white river might take some searching for a suitable spot, and your ford of Moose Creek might be scary. If I remember right Dan D’s crossing of Moose was a very scary sounding swim in 2018 when the forks of the flathead were both above 20k. You can find his TR at intocascadia.com, or he might chime in here. That kind of water is statistically unlikely but is burned into my memory since that was my first open, and its always a possibility. So might be worth thinking through backup plans there.
if snow conditions are bad your route from black bear to where you leave the Chinese wall could be quite slow, even with snow shoes. It took two friends and I about six hours to climb three quarters of a mile and the 2000 feet to a turnaround point 2/3 of the way up the pass below junction mountain last year. The friend who had snowshoes on fared better than we did, but the snow was such isothermal garbage that he was pretty damn slow himself. This was the week before the open, and the snowpack changed enough that folks seemed to do pretty well on snowshoes the following weekend.
looks like a fun route! Cheers.May 3, 2020 at 7:35 am #3644828
your route looks solid; you’re in for a real treat I can tell you that
bring snowshoes no matter what :)
in addition to whatever route you choose, definitely have some plan B’s, C’s- know where you can bail if needed
do you have an inReach or other sat device? the ability to let someone know that you’re changing plans or need picked up at another trailhead is really a big plusMay 3, 2020 at 7:42 am #3644830
few photos from our exploratory trip yesterdayMay 3, 2020 at 11:25 am #3644870Nathan SeymourBPL Member
Thanks all. I’m adding snowshoes to the list for sure. I do have a Spot gen3 which only has one-way messaging so I’ll need to plan my exit strategies and routes accordingly. I’m also looking at a much longer (but lower in elevation) route down along White River over White River Pass and then along S. Fork of the Sun. Keeping my options open…
The pictures look great, Mike! I’m heading out today for a hike in the Absarokas with my pack to feel out the conditions in my area.May 4, 2020 at 12:56 pm #3645081David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
Moose is usually a deeper ford than expected. It was chest deep in 2013.
If the South Fork is really high the Mid Creek ford can be sporty as well. Ditto the crossing of Bunker Creek (the old road bridge doesn’t exist).
Dropping east from Inspo Pass nav will be tricky. The “trail” gets lost in alpine fir and catching the fire road down low is tough to do dead on. Descending out of the snow is almost always the nav crux on a Bob Open route. At least dropping to the White you’ll have a handrail.May 5, 2020 at 2:11 pm #3645244Dan DurstonBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
Here’s Moose Creek from 2018:
Odds of attendance aren’t looking good for me this year. Although I’m only a few hours away, the Canada/USA border is closed until May 21 and there’s a good chance that’s extended.May 6, 2020 at 8:04 am #3645389
Dan- that’s too bad, here’s hoping you can make it.
Ahhh- 2018; some very crazy memories from that year!May 8, 2020 at 10:27 am #3645771
the rivers are dropping and long range forecast looks like near normal temps, that could allow for better fords- time will tell
mid elevation snow (Waldron snotel) is very slowly dropping, as is higher (Badger Pass), but definitely above average- expecting more snow than years pastMay 9, 2020 at 10:00 pm #3646082
Is anyone worried about a gorge creek ford? I was in that zone a few years back in late June and thought that the ford was sketch.May 10, 2020 at 7:40 am #3646112
after 2018 I take no ford for granted :)May 11, 2020 at 4:53 pm #3646384
Hey all, looking to launch this Saturday a.m. since there’s no longer a mass start and the timing works out a little better. And of course, looking for some assistance with shuttle. Regardless if anyone is available, I am available memorial day to help anyone shuttle. I’m based in Missoula so just shoot me a message and you can store my number for an emergency pick-up or help with a vehicle drop.
Shoot me a message if you’re available at all this week near Missoula or if you need a ride Memorial day.May 12, 2020 at 4:48 pm #3646691Aaron MillsBPL Member
Headed up to do the open for the first time. Wondering if the shotgun start is still cancelled? Also wondering if anyone has planned to go up lost jack creek , then onto the ridge paralleling lost jack then over to ibex and above the wall creek cliffs? if that makes sense. At this point im still starting on the 23 rd, but if no mass start might just head out at sunrise.May 12, 2020 at 7:45 pm #3646736
I think Dave would prefer if we mix up the start times and dates even.
Tentatively we’re going in next Thursday, the 21st
Kyle- best of luck and be safe!May 13, 2020 at 6:12 am #3646814
I am also planning to start on the 23rd, but super early. I need the extra time > the plan for day 1 is to complete the inspo pass-point section, ford Gorge Creek, traverse Picture Ridge, and hopefully camp below snow line near Black Bear. Can’t wait to get started :)May 13, 2020 at 3:28 pm #3646943
I won’t make the Open this year, at least not in the heart of the date range for open-like conditions. I’m sad to miss it but another trip calls; I’m looking forward to next year when hopefully we can resurrect the mass start.
Aaron – I had been planning on taking the ridge above Lost Jack into the Silvertip drainage. Looks like a fun way to get in there, although I have no idea how far up the ridge that trail really goes and it looks like there could be some scambling at about 6700 feet. The bit on the bench above the wall creek cliffs is an awesome area, I would have planned on that route if I hadn’t been up there last year.May 13, 2020 at 5:51 pm #3646986Aaron MillsBPL Member
Will- thanks for the response on the route. Its good to hear someone else was considering that option. The ridge above lost jack creek and all the way over to larch hill is the highlight of my route and hope to be in weather good enough to enjoy it and see it.May 15, 2020 at 3:57 pm #3647451JBBPL Member
Just a heads up for folks still planning on heading out next week, NWS Missoula has issued a hydrologic outlook warning for this next week you should probably take a look at.
Don’t cross anything you wouldn’t be comfortable crossing twice.May 15, 2020 at 10:19 pm #3647534
Heading in tomorrow a.m. Best of luck to anyone else heading out.May 16, 2020 at 1:22 pm #3647602Tom MBPL Member
We dodged a bullet yesterday pushing a pass in the swan range. This was a 30 degree east slope, mid day, cloaked cloud cover, and temps around 35-40. The avi danger is definitely still there with a base like concrete and a new layer of wet heavy on top. Upon our excite clouds lifted on the opposite side of the basin showing all south facing slopes had recent slide activity. Please use good judgement and stay safe out there.May 17, 2020 at 11:17 am #3647698Thad ABPL Member
Tom – looks like that could have been really bad. Not the kind of snow that lends itself to rescue digging. Thanks for the heads up. It’s looking to be another interesting open. Quite a bit of precipitation heading our way over the next several days. I’m expecting a few crossing surprises on otherwise blasé creeks. Not sure exactly when we’re heading out – probably anytime between Friday and Sunday. Stay safe out there everyone, whenever you get started!May 17, 2020 at 3:23 pm #3647733
Appreciate the info guys. In an effort to reduce weight, I’ve been thinking it best to try leaving the drysuit and the Alpacka seat and backrest at home (I have a 2019 expedition). Today I did a test float with these modifications and found that the lack of seat and backrest definitely sucks, yet concluded I could do without them. I came to the opposite conclusion with the drysuit. I was very cold after the first big wave to the face and was also sitting in pool of water because of the seat-less setup. I was curious to ask the group how you all pair down your boats for Bob Open-style missions and if you think drysuits are mandatory. I’m pretty sure I’m bringing my suit but this will be my first Open using a packraft. Thanks!May 18, 2020 at 5:56 pm #3647965
Rob- hopefully one of the rafting guys can chime in.
Looks Kyle is on his final leg, making his way around Gibson- should finish in plenty of time for a much earned cheeseburger at the Buckhorn :)May 18, 2020 at 6:27 pm #3647969
Rob, I think I may be the only person who’s used a drysuit during the open, although earlier participants may want to correct me on that. So I’m probably on the conservative side of the Open spectrum when it comes to this question. I weigh the environmental hypothermia risk (time of day, temperature, precip, fire resource, etc), my paddling skill relative to the difficulty of the rivers, and the weight savings payoff. For instance, I took one on the Middle Fork last year. I figured I was gonna be paddling three sustained miles of class III/IV- at the end of a cool day forecasted to rain, and since nearly half of my total miles would have been on the water the weight penalty of carrying it was acceptable to me. If, on the other hand, I was planning to paddle the W and S fk Sun midday on a day forecasted for good weather, I felt comfortable on class III, confident in my packraft self-rescue, and the trip had me hiking four times the distance I was paddling, I would probably leave the drysuit at home.
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