Montana Outdoors

July 14, 2008

Penrose Peak, Part 7

The following photos were taken along the top half mile of the trail, where I moved much more slowly, not because the climb was all that difficult, but because the views used up all of my available attention.

The Bitterroot Range is at the horizon in the first three photos.

Penrose peak trail 385

Penrose peak trail 385

Penrose peak trail 385

In this photo the small town of Plains Montana lies in the Clark Fork Valley below with a few of the Cabinet Mountains immediately behind it and the Mission Mountains are at the sky line, 50 miles in the distance.

Penrose peak trail 385

A little farther to the north, 7,400 foot Baldy Mountain dominates the skyline 19 miles away.

Penrose peak trail 385

In the next photo, the trail shows up as nearly vertical along the right side of the photo. It was a little steep, the kind of trail that makes your knees get to know your chin quite well. There are several sections like this near the top.

Penrose Peak, trail 385

Penrose Peak, trail 385

Finally, a first look at the other peaks in the Cherry Peak roadless area. Until now they were hidden by the ridge.

Penrose Peak, trail 385

More of the peaks toward the western end of the roadless area. Only three of them are named.

Penrose Peak, trail 385

Penrose Peak, trail 385

With the peak just a short rock-scramble above, this became the most dangerous part of the entire trip. To get to the rocky knob leading to the very top, it was necessary to cross about 30 feet of deep snow-bank and if I were to slide down it, that snowbank at the left-bottom of this photo is where I would land after a fall of about 800 feet. The top inch and a half of the snow was slushy, but firm under that and about 10 feet deep. With my boots I kicked out stair steps ahead of me on the way up and anchored by jamming my hiking staff deep into the firm snow. No problem!

Penrose Peak, trail 385

The next post will be at the top and there will be some photos taken from there.

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