Bob Open 2017
May 19, 2017 at 7:32 am #3468682
Heading up today to check out the start. I’ll let ya’ll know what i find.May 19, 2017 at 7:39 am #3468683
if you happen through Choteau, check the eating situation if you don’t mindMay 19, 2017 at 10:08 am #3468703
So I’m not sure if you all heard but my hiking partner, Derek L, is unable to attend The Open. He does have some local events he’s trying to organize south of the border that are worth inquiring into, looks like there’s some rugged terrain down there!
I was planning on hiking/snowshoeing the route solo but my friends and fam have convinced me to partner up this year, ugh. Does anyone here (Mike M?) have room for one more in their party and plan on finishing in 3-4 days?May 19, 2017 at 10:51 am #3468710
Chase- I was partnered up with Kevin, but he’s out with a possible fractured toe- ouch! Anyways I planned on tagging with John and Thad with the option of a possible change along the route like last year. I don’t foresee any problem if you want to go with us. We’re hoping for a 3-4 day finish.
You can shoot me a message if you like and we can exchange contact info.May 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm #3468907
question for mike, or whomever- in regard to recent fires and blowdown issues- are blowdown an issue in recent fires or only those several years old ?May 20, 2017 at 6:26 pm #3468917Tyler HBPL Member
Dan, Do you mean recently burned trees falling over as a hazard, or blow-down areas being difficult to hike through?
In my experience both are possible…. but, the first can be avoided by being aware of your surroundings and not camping under snags. The second cannot really be avoided and should be expected on trails that haven’t been maintained recently / aren’t frequently used, which can be burned or unburned.May 20, 2017 at 6:28 pm #3468918
Dan- could be both; very dependent on how hot the fire was; obviously strength of the wind event as well- very tough to predict
MikeMay 20, 2017 at 6:53 pm #3468920
Concern is hiking, high stepping- looking forward to a little map time over dinner- really appreciate all the help from you local guys!May 20, 2017 at 10:52 pm #3468952
Dan M: If you head to CalTopo.com, view the Bob area and then add the “Fire History” map layer, you can see the area and timing of all the relevant fires.May 21, 2017 at 8:17 am #3468977
Dan D- have done that , my thoughts were that perhaps fires in last several yrs might almost be preferred due to the fact the undergrowth is burned down and possibly the major timber and not dropped yet ? And possibly with all the older fires it’s had time to decay and the wind blow down the major trunksMay 21, 2017 at 9:25 am #3468984
very tough to make predictions on the amount of blowdown- so many environmental variables; a very old fire should be pretty well cleaned up- more recent fires very tough to say
last year we had a couple of stretches w/ no recent fire activity, but a ton of blowdown (live trees)- it was obvious that a rather recent and very strong wind event had occurred in this area
where trail crews have been (and not been) plays a significant role too- the main stem trails tend to be pretty well cleaned up and at the top of the priority list, others………..May 21, 2017 at 10:44 am #3469009
So I got back late last night from my trip to the West Fork Teton Trailhead. T
he Trailhead is about 45 minutes outside Choteau on good roads. The West fork campground is right there and will be a good place to congregate as it will be empty. AND the toilets are OPEN this year! It is in the middle of a burn area so i can’t imagine anyone going up for the memorial weekend, not an ideal vaca destination.
The Elk Country grill is indeed Closed down. The only other spots for food are likely a place called John Henry’s or the Log Cabin Restaurant. The log cabin was the choice of the few locals i talked to about it.
I headed up the Onley creek/ Washboard Reef trail around 11am. Temp about 50*
The trail was in good shape at the start around 5600′. Usual early season conditions. Intermitent snow fields started right after the crossing of the North fork of the teton maybe 2.5 miles in and around 6100′. This snow got more consistent and started to become more prominent than not at 6500′. At the Y where you either head to Onley creek or up to Washboard reef the snow was starting to make trail finding difficult. Both of those trails peetered out just after that intersection and were not obvious well used trails. The sign for those trails was on the ground so I proped it up at the base of a large burn tree on the right This is where i turned around after 20 minutes of trying to find one or the other without any certainty. I could have just followed the gps but was over it at that point.
It took me 2 hours to go 4.25 miles. Well below my norm of about 3mph. The only way i knew where the washboard trail was was by looking for trail cut logs and then it was just a guess. I did not attempt to hit the pass’. Washboard may be the easier of the two, i was originally planning to cut over to ninemile park over Onley. This section is all old burn and should improve with some sun and warm weather over the next week, how much i don’t know. Postholing , trailfinding, blow down and avalanche fields made for slower going than i’d like for my time frame. Speed would improve in cooler morning temperatures and with a bit of warm weather luck.
I’ll have to re asses my timeframe of 4 days and may not be able to make this happen. I’m up in the air right now. The only thing i got going for me is i’m slower than everyone else so I will be bringing up the rear and can just follow ya’ll foot prints :)
Heres a link for my Spot location about where the Onley/washboard split . I still can’t see the trail on google maps even though i know its there.
Here is an upside down picture this area. I couldn’t figure out how to rotate it. It might make you dizzyMay 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm #3469023
thanks for the report- at least we now know we can drive to the start :)
looks like we’ll start early earning our miles
I vote John Henry’s as they do serve some micro brews; the Log Cabin has pretty good food, but no brewsMay 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm #3469038Matt LBPL Member
If I’m remembering correctly from a few years back, that washboard reef trail is lightly used and difficult to see other than the cuts in the tree, even in the summer. Good azimuth and terrain association. ..May 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm #3469046John NBPL Member
Thad and I just got back from scouting out the area around Sunday Mtn. We parked on the road on the south gated side of Morrell-Clearwater. Snow was patchy until about 5500 where it was all over the eastern aspect. We headed up a climbers trail to the saddle above Grizzly Basin (attached). Pretty steep but the snow was in good shape (neither of us brought snowshoes). Grizzly Basin and the surrounding area is all snow as you can image. The snow line looked to be around 5500-6000 towards the S Fork down Babcock Creek. It was getting pretty warm when we left this afternoon after a morning scout of the forest service roads (it helps to put some time into choosing a route here to save the amount of winding you’ll need to do). Hopefully a week of warm temps will lift that snow level up to 6000. Stream crossings will be interesting for sure. Stay safe out there everyone.May 21, 2017 at 4:24 pm #3469047BlackHatGuySpectator
@sleepingLocale: The CascadesMay 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm #3469053
phew! Scott’s right side up :)
John- wow- that looks like winter! I did actually see a few blue birds AND a butterfly in the Elkhorns yesterday- no significant snow below 6000′
just peeked at Badger Pass- looks like it lost the ~ 20″ it picked up from the last storm, so we’re pretty close back to par- a relatively warm week ahead and might put a little more dent into the snowMay 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm #3469099
Thanks Doug, thats way better.
Wow that is a TON of snow!!!May 21, 2017 at 9:46 pm #3469106
It seems like the snowpack is actually what pushes down most of the trees after a burn (as opposed to the wind or something else). Since we’ve had a pretty good snow year, I’m sure it pushed down lots of fire weakened trees, even in new (2016) burns.
Brush seems pretty minor in the Bob – at least compared to the coast mountains where I’m from. You can go off-trail pretty much anywhere (cliff bands aside).
So I’d generally avoid all burn zones less than a decade old, unless it’s high elevation where fallen trees will be buried, or on a well travelled trail that gets cleared each year (even then this can be quite bad in the spring).
Thanks for the beta. You gotta come. We’ll put tracks over the reef for ya.
I’m good with John Henry’s tooMay 22, 2017 at 1:59 pm #3469183
Having a hard time securing a shuttle from Inez lake to Westfork TH on Friday. Does anyone happen to have room in their vehicle who’s shuttling on Friday? I’ve got a hundred-spot for the driver that comes through. Thanks a ton.May 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm #3469204Derek LarsonBPL Member
@derek-larsonLocale: La Sierra Gorda
Chase, if you read this by tonight, there’s a good chance I can be on a plane Wednesday to either be support or do this silly thing. I just found a $370 flight and I’d like to get out of town for a few days. I haven’t really been training for the BMWO, but I have been running 80 mile weeks in the mountains since April. I just don’t have anything for the snow.May 22, 2017 at 7:21 pm #3469235
Chase, it will be cozy – but should be able to sqeeze you in – keep your $- all in this together, how long a drive do u figure it is ?May 22, 2017 at 8:39 pm #3469275
it’s about 2 1/2 hours from Inez to Choteau (about 150 miles)May 22, 2017 at 8:39 pm #3469276
I’m very grateful for this, Dan M. And that attitude “we’re all in this together”, rocks. Well said. Thanks a ton. Now we just need to figure out how to get Derek L. to West Fork.
Derek just bought a last minute plane ticket this afternoon and will be flying into Portland, Oregon from Mexico somewhere, Wedsday evening at 9:30pm and staying with me. We should be at Lake Inez CG around 9am on Friday. We wouldn’t mind riding in the back of a pickup either, thru-hiker style. Just trying to avoid kitchhiking if at all possible. Looking forward to burgers and brew with you all at John Henry’s. If our bum asses can get a ride there, haha.May 22, 2017 at 9:43 pm #3469295
Early weather forecasts are looking decent.
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