First Tastes of the Whitefish Backcountry Goods…

2/15/2015 & 2/18/2015 – As many of you may know, Grete and I recently pulled the trigger and moved north to Whitefish, MT.  Upon committing to a move, the whole American West dried up and got warm… and with it our ambitions of quality backcountry adventuring in our new home.  Finally, after weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures and frequent rainstorms, a colder weather system dropped into NW Montana and locked up the super-moist snowpack. Although it wasn’t snowing (until today!), the skies cleared and we had the opportunity to stumble ourselves into a couple of excellent tours.

One of these was our first day of skiing (and Grete’s first day of her life) in Glacier National Park.  We went in with low expectations and planned to merely “walk with skis on” up Going-To-The-Sun Road to enjoy some views.  Thankfully, there was another trailhead where the road ended that led to either a backcountry chalet or a fire lookout.  Being the clear skies we figured the fire lookout would provide excellent views so long as we could get there.  A few hours and 4200′ later we arrived at the Mt. Brown lookout and were simply stunned with the terrain surrounding us!  The real icing on the cake was getting decent skiable turns (dust on crust leading to sloppy cream) for the upper 2k’ back down.  Yes, skis-on packs-booting on dirt trails was involved, but it was WELL worth it, as you will see:

A couple days later, we headed out to the “popular” Rescue Creek drainage in the Flathead Range, again with low-expectations exploring in mind.  At the trailhead we met Charlie, a friend of good friends of ours from Vermont through a random twist of fate!  The trail up to the base of Mt. Penrose was very firm and presented challenging skinning frequently.  We easily booted from the saddle (with Mt. Nyack) up to the summit of Mt. Penrose then enjoyed the glorious weather and views for a good while.  What glorious luck we had with weather!  The sun had heated the SW aspect of the mountain enough to enjoy firm but fun skiing back to the saddle.  From there, the turns back down the drainage to the trailhead were adventurous to say the least! All-in-all it was another great day out with a new a friend!

In conclusion, Grete and I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities of our new home!  The spring looks to hold plenty of high-quality toiling and skiing given the size, beauty and challenge of the mountains in NW Montana… Its gonna be great!

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