- May 16, 2018 at 3:35 am #3535857
Thad ABPL Member
Nearest cell reception off the road (at least with Verizon) is right around the benchmark/willow road split before you head into the canyon.
And Adrian, I don’t in fact have your spoon, although I would have used it last year if I’d spotted it as I passed by. I shaved a crucial half ounce or less off my pack weight by forgetting mine. Fortunately it wasn’t my first utensil-less excursion, so I wasted no time in whittling a sweet wooden replacement. John and Mike kept shooting me jealous glances, but I never let them try it out.May 16, 2018 at 7:48 pm #3536027
Thanks Thad and John! That will her plan her weekend fun while I’m suffering in the snow.
I ended up using the handle of my trowel as a spoon. It worked great though I still feel bad about leaving it behind.May 17, 2018 at 2:51 pm #3536208
Anyone know if there’s cell service in the Seeley Valley, either along 83 or at the trailheads (Napa point, East Holland, Morrell Falls in particular)? I’m trying to think through the logistics of a bail from my route, although that route could very well be different in a week if the south fork flathead still hasn’t come down.
Also I got some extra days off work and am flying in this Sunday afternoon. I’m probably going to bite the bullet and rent a car to try to get a 2-3 day trip in the area in the monday-thursday range. Company welcome if anyone is free and interested in joining. I just got the days so I’ve barely thought about what area I’ll go to much less a route, but maybe some snowshoeing up in glacier, a warm-up loop in the bob, or a float on the north fork flathead on the off chance it looks doable by then.May 17, 2018 at 3:07 pm #3536210
John NBPL Member
The area right around Seeley is fine, spotty up north toward Holland.May 17, 2018 at 3:09 pm #3536211
there’s some cell reception in the Seeley- Swan, but can be spotty- not sure at the trailheads thoughMay 17, 2018 at 7:27 pm #3536263
Anybody scouting this weekend. I was contemplating going up around Benchmark or Gordon to see what the east side looked like or perhaps even Marias ( not like i’m gonna make to the finish but who knows)May 17, 2018 at 8:39 pm #3536276
Are you planning on packrafting this year? If so, I’m interested to know what you’re planning, as well as your thoughts on whether or not I’m crazy to float parts of the SF Sun and MF Flathead.May 17, 2018 at 9:41 pm #3536294
Thanks for the cell service info guys, that’s good to know.
Adrian- I’m planning on floating the lower danaher and basically the whole SF flathead up to twin creek (minus anywhere from 3-30 miles of portaging depending on how the water looks). Likewise interested to know your thoughts if that’s a bad idea. Perusing this thread it looks like almost everyone is planning a west side route, which makes me question my own route choice. Is that primarily because snowpack and water crossings will be lighter on the west side? Ive mapped out a couple of possible routes and the miles and vertical on the west side look as bad or worse as what I’m hoping to do, especially considering that I might be able to get 45+ miles off my feet on the danaher and s fork.
As for your question, I’ve never been to the Bob before and am definitely not the person to ask on this forum. It sounds like the s fork Sun and the m fork flathead are a little bit spicier than the s fork flathead but it’s hard to tell if that’s a continuous character or a couple of rapids that would be easy to portage. I also don’t know which rapids will be intensified by the high water and which ones will be washed out. I have a fairly high tolerance for technical water but I don’t relish the thought of a swim on a near-flood river 30 miles from a trailhead, so I’m planning on being very cautious with what I put into and try to run.May 18, 2018 at 2:14 am #3536344
Kyle PBPL Member
Hey all, weighing in on some of these posts. I’m hosting a couple Bob Openers in Missoula and am at full capacity both car-space and floor space otherwise I’d be offering up some seats/beds.
Re: packrafting: Adrian, Will: I’d definitely recommend scouring through old Bob open forums, specifically trip reports. I seem to remember Dave saying that floating the Middle Fork, at least below Schaefer, “is a good way to die.” Last year I was on the South Fork from White River to Salmon Forks at 10k and it was a highway of water, but cruise control the whole way. Will, I’d read up on Dave’s flow guide and I know Dan has some first hand experiencing swimming around in the water below Black Bear at 8-10k.
This time last year I’d visualized every step of the Bob and had my route memorized. With so many variables, I might just show up with a general sense and make up my mind at the trail junctions. I’m still undecided on packraft. Either way I’m excited to put some ink on some new parts of the Bob. That will likely be a big factor in my final route selection. Last year I had a long and scenic route and had a blowdown -err- blast.
Re: Scouting: Last weekend I did a solo out and back packrafting trip: Gibson –> Gates Park –> Gibson. The river was definitely moving. See the images below. No strainers but a couple tricky rock-drops that the river normally flows through … the river flows over.
My business partner put this together for visualizing river CFS: http://www.riverpik.com/. If you’re like me and visit those pages daily, you’ll appreciate it.
Below: Gates Park Pack Bridge Last Weekend.
Below: Bob Open Last Year, Memorial day 2017. Log just above Gates Park Packbridge that I tried to packraft under unsuccessfully.
Below: August 2017 same spot.
Same spot May 2018 (last weekend).
Between Moose Creek and Glen Creek
The mighty North Fork Valley
Below: Biggs Creek flowing into North Fork Sun.May 18, 2018 at 6:21 am #3536390
Dan DurstonBPL Member
I’ll be rafting on the east side. There are crazy and not crazy parts on both the SF Sun and MF Flathead, so if you know what the rivers are like, it’s not crazy (although I haven’t paddled much of either). For the SF Sun, just don’t put in too early. For the MF Flathead, you mostly want to watch the stretch between Schaffer and Three Forks – way too rowdy for me. There is a log jam just before Schaffer too. Other than that, it should be pretty smooth sailing.
If you still want a ride to the start, I haven’t had any luck finding a ride from Marias Pass to the start (if I drop my car at Marias Pass), so it’s looking increasingly likely that I could give you a lift from Missoula to the start.
I’m expecting similar numbers of folks on the west and east side this year. Both sides have their pros and cons. I think they’re pretty similar efforts.
It sounds like you’ve got an interesting route. I did something similar in 2013 in terms of floating that far down the South Fork and then heading up Upper Twin Creek, but you’ll be putting in much further upstream so you’ll have a few extra challenges like Burnt Park.
Hopefully you’ve put some thought into the best route back towards Marias Pass, there are some good and terrible ways to go. I didn’t pick a great option in 2013.
Great that you’re making it out. Nice to hear there are no strainers on the NF Sun (not that I’m intending to paddle it, obviously). Last summer the river had cut a new route through the forest for a hundred yard about halfway between Gates Park and Gibson’s. I guess it’s back on track.May 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm #3536415
How was that swim Dan? Somewhat ominously, Dave’s guide only describes sf flathead up to 10000 cfs, a flow which I would be very happy to see the river fall to by Saturday but which I’m not holding my breath for. As for getting from twin creek to Maria’s, right now I’m planning on taking the lower twin creek drainage to the mf flathead to the granite creek drainage. That part of my route is definitely subject to change depending on how I’m feeling and whether I’m on time, though. If I have the extra time and energy I might try to do something more interesting to wind up on the continental divide ridge for the last couple miles, or if I’m behind schedule I’ll scratch out to route 2 via long creek drainage.
Anyway sorry to hear you haven’t found a shuttle, but yes a ride would still be hugely appreciated! I’ll pm you to talk about logistics.May 18, 2018 at 5:38 pm #3536450
Thanks Will, Kyle, and Dan. I was not planning on floating the stretch below Schaffer (due to what would likely be a potential class V swim at current flows). Thanks for the heads-up on the log jam too. It’s always nice to not have a complete surprise/frantic paddle to safety. Have you found resources other than google earth for gathering beta on the potential challenging sections?May 19, 2018 at 2:48 am #3536577
fyi will probably have room for several bodies from Marias pass to start – will post more later in the weekMay 19, 2018 at 11:45 am #3536612
Dan D./Will- I’m planning on getting into area on the 21st, hiking a lot of glacier during the week, then heading down to the start on fri- even though still not doing the open this year- but should have room to give you guys a lift-mike or dan, you guys know the area better than myself,is there a place close by where i could leave/ stay in motorhome fri night? I’m towing my pickup so i could still ferry you guys up to trailhead if needed.May 19, 2018 at 12:49 pm #3536618
Dan- I’ve heard the road is open all the way to the campground. It’s a wide road (gravel though) and I think you wouldn’t have any trouble bringing your motorhome to the campground. It’s a major entry point for outfitters to bring stock in (via large trailers), so everything is pretty roomy.
MikeMay 19, 2018 at 8:13 pm #3536688
Dan M- Thanks for the ride offer, I’ve talked to Dan D and it sounds like that would probably be a big help. I’ll send you a PMMay 19, 2018 at 11:06 pm #3536728May 19, 2018 at 11:54 pm #3536730
Matt LBPL Member
Dan M, do you still have room for one more?May 20, 2018 at 2:04 am #3536766
Dumb Question, Anyone know how long a pre-mixture of Aquamira Last for?May 20, 2018 at 2:37 am #3536776
matt l -got you coveredMay 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm #3536811
I’m coming up from Bozeman probably Friday afternoon if that helps anyone.May 20, 2018 at 2:10 pm #3536817
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
South Fork is reading 13,500 cfs this morning, Middle Fork 14,800 cfs, South Fork Sun 2,420. Badger Pass has 58 inches of snow, Copper Camp 38, and most worrying, the forecast for the week has rain everyday and night temps staying above freezing all the way up to 8000 feet or so.
Going light on sleep gear looks reasonable, though nothing else.May 20, 2018 at 2:43 pm #3536825
John NBPL Member
Thad and I scouted/carried our rifles around hoping to stumble into a black bear, out the crossing at SF Two Med yesterday. Still loads of snow, most of the trail was covered, although we boot packed fine in the morning with minimal post-holing. The river is moving, however, you can see the bottom at the crossing itself (first pic) and there were a few other spots toward the in-holding that looked doable as well. We tried to scout out other areas on the south side of the river but didn’t make it too far due to massive amounts of blowdown and new growth that soaked us. There is a great area just west of the obelisk (have to drive off the highway, down a little ditch and up) to stash vehicles or camp if necessary.
As he posted earlier, Thad has a cracked rib and made the decision after yesterday’s foray that he’s scratching the Open this year. Wise choice for sure. We did see a momma griz and her cubs just off the highway between Browning and Dupuyer on the way home so that was pretty cool (crappy rushed and zoomed iPhone photo below).
May 20, 2018 at 4:53 pm #3536880
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by John N.
Thad ABPL Member
As John noted, the SF Two Medicine was up and moving fast, but appeared to allow for a possibly treacherous but manageable crossing. The basin appeared to hold roughly half its snowpack so I wouldn’t expect the river to be dramatically lower by next week, although that will largely be dictated by the weather gods in the days surrounding any crossing.
Unfortunately, my hopes for a definitive answer regarding the readiness of my rib for another Bob Open bid was answered with a miserable but commanding “no.” Shockingly, it turns out that lugging a rifle and swimming through miles of blowdown is not restorative. My own fault, I was feeling better enough by Mother’s Day weekend to tackle a couple landscaping projects, and decimated two weeks healing in the process.
Yesterday’s scouting trip devolved into rib contractions every 3-15 steps. Each one brought about an involuntary halt and set loose a barrage of heartfelt curses that will likely still be echoing in the timber when some of you wearily near the end of your journey. Be forewarned. Fortunately, John had gone ahead to camp, so I was alone to wince and whine at my leisure.
The end result is that I will be reduced to enviously reading your trip reports, eking out some simulacrum of vicarious adventure. Good luck and safe travels to all of you fortunate souls pushing into the Bob next weekend. My thoughts will be with you.May 21, 2018 at 3:24 am #3537013
Sorry to hear that Thad :( next year :)
I’m not a rafter so take this with a grain of salt; the South Fork of the Sun above Benchmark looks very treacherous. It’s moving extremely fast, it’s narrow, I could see several ledges (mini waterfalls?), lots of crap in the river, several log jams and the river makes some really (really) sharp turns- again grain of salt from a non-rafter.
There is still a ton of snow, there were places I was 5-6′ above the actual trail. This causes a lot of sidehilling as there is no trail bed to speak of, which is very tiring. This also makes navigation very difficult- no sawed logs/trees to let you know you’re on the right track. The snow for the most part was pretty consolidated, but snowhoes make it much better.
I almost ended up with a cracked rib of my own, took a bad fall and slid into tree well- smacking said tree hard!
Shaping up to be a dandy :)
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