2022 Bob Open
May 31, 2022 at 9:51 pm #3750810
Made it to the Rattesnake TH today (5/31) at 8:22 > 84hrs, 22min. Looks like Kyle bested me by 1 hour.
Here’s the skinny >
1) Blackleaf > MF Teton > Nesbit Pass > NF Sun float (could not finish float section before dark)
2) NF Sun Float > Benchmark > Stadler Pass > Danaher Float to Y-D Jct
3) Youngs ck > Pyramid Pass > Snowmobile parking lot outside Seeley
4) Seeley > Clearwater Float > Blackfoot float > CF float > Jumbo Saddle > Rattlesnake TH
I was in my boat today for over 10 hours. Everything hurts. On the plus side, the bad weather forecast never really manifested for me. It only drizzled a few timesJun 1, 2022 at 7:24 am #3750825Tom MBPL Member
Only 9 brave souls toed the line this year. Congratulations to everyone and I cant wait to read your reports. This was by far the most rewarding and fulfilling BMO for me to date.
The crescendo,Jun 1, 2022 at 7:52 am #3750826
Kyle and Rob- nice work!!!!Jun 1, 2022 at 9:50 am #3750832W I S N E R !Spectator
Nice Mike.Jun 1, 2022 at 1:33 pm #3750838David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
Hell yes Kyle and Rob!Jun 1, 2022 at 2:43 pm #3750844
Can’t wait to read all your reports!
If you don’t mind what packs are you guys using? I know Mike was using a SO Flight, what about the rest? Thinking of adding another pack to the collectionJun 1, 2022 at 9:42 pm #3750892
Here’s a video I slapped together. Pardon the length but it was a long trip :)Jun 2, 2022 at 6:19 am #3750896Tom MBPL Member
Great video thats awesome!!! You guys killed it. It was great to b.s. with you before the open this year. Dont forget about labor day.Jun 2, 2022 at 6:40 am #3750897
Rob- most excellent video! If you ever quit your day job I think you might have an alternative :)
Congrats on a spectacular Open.Jun 2, 2022 at 7:03 am #3750898
That’s awesome! Great video and congrats! It all looked amazing except the road walks..Jun 2, 2022 at 8:48 am #3750909
This year Tom and I decided on something a little different. We knew Missoula was a no go w/o some competent pack rafting skills. Looking at the out and back was problematic due to time constraints (the quickest route we could find was ~ 140 miles). We also had some unfinished business in the Badger- Two Med from a previous trip, sooo… we decided to start at Blackleaf with the others, but veer northwest to Maria Pass.
I have to say Blackleaf was a very pleasant surprise, thanks Dave for that! I’ll be exploring that area further this summer with my family.
That evening we had a chance to visit with everyone and compare notes. We discovered Elliot was the lone non-rafter looking at the out and back. Tom invited him to join us if he wanted and Elliot became part of crew.
The pass dropping us into the East From of the Teton
The trail was pretty easy to follow dropping down, but once in the bottom it disappeared. We eventually found the trail (amazing what you can find looking at the map) was above us and got on it.
We followed the North Fork of the Teton River north to Bruce Creek where we took a breather and lunch break. Bruce Creek was humming right along.
Our original plan was to follow Bruce Ck up, hug Corrugate Ridge and drop into Crazy Creek. It was obvious that Bruce Creek (and beyond) was loaded with snow and possible avy danger as we’d be touching 8000′ to make it over. We discussed going further up the North Fork to Phone Ck and dropping into the South Fork of Birch Creek. It would be longer, a lot less climbing and likely to have less snow. It also meant crossing the SF of Brick Ck lower and possible fording issues. We rolled the dice and went with the original plan. As predicted, within a mile we hit snow and would be snowshoes for the next 6 miles.
We could see up into Corrugate Ridge (which was our planned route of travel) and could tell we’d be into a lot of snow and possible avy danger. The other option was longer, but would save us time if we forced to back out of Corrugate.
We decided to the throw the dice and go with our original route. It wasn’t long and we found the snow.
Corrugate Ridge replete with a lot of overhanging cornices. We had one good rumble that had me running for the trees!
Views were pretty sweet.
We still had a lot of climbing to do to get to the next pass, but took a little sit-down break. As my grandfather used to say in those special moments ” I wonder what the poor people are doing?”
We still had a lot of elevation to gain to get up and over the pass that would drop us into Crazy Creek.
We eventually could see the pass where the trail went through, but there was a large, long cornice hanging over it- definitely a no go.
Tom telling me to point as it’s an action shot :)
We’d have to find another way down into Crazy Creek, took awhile but we did.
From Crazy Creek we turned up the South Fork of Brick Creek heading for Gateway Pass that would drop us into the Middle Fork of the Flathead. We made an error and didn’t pull over and eat supper like we normally do around 6-7:00 PM and instead pushed for the pass and figured we’d make camp and eat there. We were like the walking dead headed up to the pass! At least the views were good :D
We finally made the pass at about 10:00 PM (if anyone is counting that’s three passes). Tom and Elliot found a small patch of bare ground to camp, I decided to go on hoping for a better spot. Gateway Pass has a long meadow at the top and I was hoping it might be snow free. Well it wasn’t and after falling through the snow into a big seep and getting wet up to my thighs, I found a little bare spot and called it a day. I was chilled and pretty much spent. Cooked supper but could only force down about half of it- we should have stopped and ate earlier, which after eight years of doing this, I knew. I woke up about 2:00 AM very cold and boiled up water for my Nalgene and stuck that in my quilt with me which helped a ton.
Woke up again about 5:00 AM and figured I better get on with it. My shoes were frozen solid, ditto on my socks, gaiters and bottom half of my pants. I knew we’d be in snow for quite a bit longer and decided to don my neoprene socks- they don’t keep your feet dry (nothing would), but they keep them warmer.
I headed for Gateway Gorge knowing that the guys wouldn’t be too far behind. Gateway Gorge and Gateway creek, on my favorite areas in the Bob Marshall.
I didn’t know how far behind the guys were so enjoyed a rare second cup of coffee. Turns out they weren’t very far behind and everyone enjoyed a cup of coffee! Sadly though the pizza joint was closed-if you ever have the time, Tom said you can’t beat Sabidino’s.
We had another decision to make. There is a trail that goes high and up and over to Strawberry Creek, which is shorter but a lot more elevation and certainly a lot more snow. Going through the gorge would be longer, but shorter time wise, but the trail is on such a steep slope that if we ran into much snow we’d be turning around lacking crampons and ice axes. We rolled the dice again. There were a few snow lines coming down, but thankfully a grizzly had been through a day or two earlier and carved out some nice steps for us.
We would follow Strawberry Ck to it’s upper most reached to Badger Pass, crossing over the Continental Divide for a second time. While Strawberry Ck was snow free when we hit it, it was loaded with blowdown.
Blowdown is a double whammy- it slows you to a crawl, but maybe worse, it fatigues you greatly getting around/over/under it. We finally got out of the burn area and the blowdown reduced significantly. We were back in snow, but snow is a lot easier to deal with than blowdown!
We eventually figured out that we would soon have another hurdle to get over. Strawberry Creek was rolling, really rolling and we had to make a ford across it soon. One look at the ford and we knew we would live to tell about it so we followed the creek upwards hoping for a more favorable ford- a log spanning the creek, the creek widening out, the creek braiding- something. So through another burn we followed upwards without a trail.
We looked at numerous different potential fords and ruled them all out. But after several miles the trail crossed back over Strawberry Creek- we would never ford Strawberry :)
We made it through Badger Pass without incident, but it starting raining/wet snowing on us. After crossing the Divide a couple of times we arrived at Muskrat Pass where we ate supper (we didn’t make that mistake again!). We found a grove of big spruce, sawed some branches out of the way, got a fire going and ate a nice supper under the dry canopy of the spruce.
We looked at the map and knew we’d never make it to our planned second camp, so we decided to hike until dark and call it good. We had two very sketchy fords right before dark, but made unscathed (but very wet) and found a spot to camp. Got a good fire going, camp up and called it a day.
It rained all night and was still raining the next morning when we got rolling. We had a good climb right out of the gate and were into snow again in no time. Not going to gloss it over, but trudging through the snow in heavy rain is a bit on the depressing side.
We finally topped out and started our descent into the North Fork of Badger Creek. Despite the snow and rain, we were making OK time. We reached Badger Creek and had another very sketchy ford, wet up to our waists, but unscathed. We stopped for a mid-morning break and started a fire to warm up.
The trail down Badger Creek was choked full of snow (and still raining), but relatively blowdown free- a blessing! We made it to the Badger Patrol cabin around noon and took a welcomed break out of the snow on the porch of the cabin.
We were now at the headwaters of the Two Medicine River and would follow it towards our goal of Marias Pass. The Badger-Two Medicine area is teaming with elk, moose, black bears and grizzlies. Lots of meadows, bit lots of cover areas equally dispersed. There is a reason that the Blackfoot Nation eagerly guarded this area from other tribes.
Did I mention it was raining? Every once in awhile it would let up and I’d take my hood off. Within a minute of me taking off my hood, it would start raining again. Tom must have noticed this too and finally told- leave that damn hood up :)
After a couple of miles of making good time on snow free trails, we were handed another blow- blowdown and lots (and lots) of it.
Another problem quickly arised. The Two Medicine was picking up steam as we travelled down river. We made a couple of sketchy fords, but it would ford the river several more times. Instead of risking life and limb we painstakingly, picked our way around the river, avoiding fording. Lot of steep cutbank climbs into blowdown choked burns, busting through thick willow and alder and skirting the edge of the river where we could. Every time where the trail would be reconnected on our side we celebrated!
The Two Med
We successfully dodged six fords, but it was the last ford that was on our minds. If we couldn’t make the last ford, it meant a much longer hike, another night out and a long hike/hitchhike back to the vehicle on Highway 2. No said anything, but it was heavily on our minds. Pushing ever closer to Marias Pass.
Eventually we made it to where the trail dropped to the last ford. We looked it over and miraculously the river widened and the gradient wasn’t nearly as steep as it had been. Someone was clearly watching over us!
We celebrated and then hit the trail for the last two miles to Marias Pass.
At 9:14 PM we hit the trailhead. 80-ish miles, close to 10,000′ of ascent, numerous sketchy fords, blowdown, snowshoeing, post holing, rock scrambling – 61 hours and 14 minutes later, we made it!Jun 2, 2022 at 9:49 am #3750916
Wow Mike, great write up. That last picture of you crossing the river is so cool. And what a moment of the trip. Seems like this year presented more decision points about routes than in years past. Congrats on a great adventure.
Rob: awesome video. “It’s pretty cool when the hardest thing you’ve ever done … just happened.” Love that line.Jun 2, 2022 at 10:26 am #3750921Elliot HBPL Member
Mike, thanks for the write-up. I think you hit on pretty much everything, and I like how you let the pictures tell the story.
One thing I want to add is that I was very grateful for the invitation to tag along on the route with Mike and Tom. It sounded much more enjoyable than dragging myself through some potentially rough terrain alone.
In the end, it felt like a sort of Bob Open apprenticeship for me. I got to learn from two veterans of the Open and watch how they responded to each of the unique new wrinkles we encountered. I’m glad to have spent that time with them and look forward to the possibility of future trips and Opens as well. As Tom has already mentioned, this year was incredibly rewarding, and I’ll remember it for a long time.
Congrats to everybody else who gave it a go this year. Rob, what a video! Couldn’t stop thinking to myself how cool that route was and how rough that Day 3 must have been just straight up Youngs for the whole day. Thanks for sharing.Jun 2, 2022 at 10:44 am #3750922
Elliot- really enjoyed having you join us. With two Opens under your belt now, you’ll now enjoy veteran’s status next year :)
MikeJun 2, 2022 at 5:23 pm #3750942
Trip Report Via Google Doc!Jun 2, 2022 at 5:43 pm #3750946
Excellent Kyle- congrats on a wonderful trip and finish!
Indeed the trail (E Fork Teton) was above the bottom of the drainage on the south side. I will admit we also faltered in the bottom before we discovered it.
You’re more than welcome on any future adventures :)Jun 2, 2022 at 9:53 pm #3750967
Thanks for the video love. I can stop thinking about the trip. It’s weird, it basically never rained on me, I never got cold/my camp never frosted, and I would have been fine leaving the snow shoes at home. The conditions I encountered were pretty ideal. Y’alls trip reports seem like they were written during a different timeframe. Thanks for sharing and thanks for participating.
The video lays out the where and when and how it went. Instead of a trip report, I’m going to try to put together some final thoughts that hopefully can prompt some discussion.
Has anyone heard from the Texas-Utah dudes (aka MMC)?Jun 3, 2022 at 5:36 am #3750980
kyle great write up!Jun 3, 2022 at 6:17 am #3750983
I haven’t heard anything on the UT & TX guys (wish I was better remembering names!). I know that one of the had their parents there to pickup them up if they ended up bailing.
I remember 4-5 years ago we had a gentlemen and his daughter that didn’t come out until over week a later- we finally got an update that they got out, was a little nerve wracking not knowing where they were.Jun 3, 2022 at 6:40 am #3750987
i know we are all grown adults and i’d hope anyone who does this carries an In-reach, spot, PBL or similar but with having an over paranoid wife who works in a steel mill and part of her job is safety, it would seem like it’d be a good idea for participants to exchange numbers (if it be cell and/or communicator) just as a 2nd backup. i’m also assuming everyone shares info with their loved ones for expect exit ect… but i’m also sure participants worry about those who go in as well.
as my wife tells me, you can never be too safe!Jun 3, 2022 at 8:12 am #3750993MMCBPL Member
All is well with MMC and Tex! We ended up not making it close to Rattlesnake, but since we budgeted food, vacation days, and travel time for 5 days, we decided to spend that time enjoying the Bob. We got out on Wednesday and traveled until late last night.
Trip report will follow at some point. Glad to hear from everyone. Thanks for thinking of us!Jun 3, 2022 at 9:07 am #3750998
^ good deal- thanks for posting and look forward to the trip report!Jun 5, 2022 at 1:35 pm #3751116
A little Sunday video editing. Enjoy.Jun 5, 2022 at 3:11 pm #3751121
Nice vid Kyle! You and Rob have the videography down; looks like Tom and I are going to have to step up our game :)Jun 5, 2022 at 7:14 pm #3751138
Super cool Kyle, nice work :)
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