Montana Outdoors

September 23, 2008

A white day

Today was a typical fall day… except at 7,000 feet.

Baldy Mountain

Baldy Mountain

Baldy Mountain

Baldy Mountain

Baldy Mountain

Baldy Mountain

Baldy Mountain

(Today was a very rare opportunity to visit the peak after a snowfall. These are a few of about 80 photos I brought back today from the top of 7,464 foot tall Baldy Mountain.)


  1. Beautiful images Terry, the contrast between the snow and sky is wonderful, I bet you get your share of wind up their as well !! 🙂


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — September 23, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  2. It looks like you crawled inside one of those snowglobes. The fifth photo almost looks like a papier mache diorama.



    Comment by Pinhole — September 23, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  3. Bernie,

    Yes, that’s the tallest peak for 30 – 40 miles around and it always has a wind at the top. I finally quit snapping the shutter today because my fingers were completely numb. Down around 5,500 feet the snow was melting but certainly not at the top!

    The sky conditions kept changing every few minutes and I wasn’t even sure what kind of photos I would be bringing back!


    Comment by montucky — September 23, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  4. Pinhole,

    I really don’t know what kind of conditions were up there last night, but it had to involve a pretty good wind and blowing snow and/or ice. I will post some close-ups later of some of the tree branches. They really look strange!


    Comment by montucky — September 23, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  5. Amazing perspective. What an awesome place that must be to stand upon, to see everything so far.


    Comment by Bo — September 23, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  6. Spectacular! Simply spectacular!


    Comment by Tabbie — September 23, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  7. wow! drop-dead gorgeous! Never seen anything like this before…


    Comment by Sumedh — September 23, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  8. Bo,

    Awesome is a good word for it. I’ve often wished I could take folks from other areas on the trail. It will certainly change one’s perspective!


    Comment by montucky — September 23, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  9. Tabbie,

    I’ve wanted for a long time to get some snow photos from there and today I just got lucky. Usually if there’s much snow up there it’s hard or impossible to get to the trail head.


    Comment by montucky — September 23, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  10. Sumedh,

    Once you hike that trail it’s hard to stay away from it, and when you’re up there you don’t want to come down, although today I was quite ready to drop a thousand feet of elevation to warm up a bit.


    Comment by montucky — September 23, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

  11. Gorgeous, especially contrasted against the snow-less landscape.


    Comment by Patia — September 23, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

  12. Nearly twice as high as our 46 Adirondack peaks that are between 4000 and 5100′. Yet the views look nearly the same. Perhaps the whole area starts out a few thousand ft. above sea level? Wondering aside, I like the snow covered krumholz, (I think that’s the word for the twisted, dwarf trees at high altitude). A local artist does huge oil paintings of those scenes,… on 4×8 plywood. My favorite is the third photo. The rock covering is interesting,… we have solid rock ledges on tops,… your area has all broken pieces. Wondering about that too.


    Comment by Cedar — September 24, 2008 @ 4:19 am

  13. Patia,

    Yes, the valleys were quite warm actually, just the high peaks had the low temps. The snow started at about 5,500 feet, but it was melting there. Just the top 500 feet or so was below freezing at around noon. The Missions have fairly heavy snow on the top thousand feet or so.


    Comment by montucky — September 24, 2008 @ 6:25 am

  14. Cedar,

    The Clark Fork river is about 10 miles to the south of the mountain, and it is at 2,500 feet. The low land in the other directions is all higher than that.

    The stunted trees up there I think are the result of pretty harsh winds and arid conditions, more than just altitude. There is a little soil at the very top where it’s a little flat, but below that, I don’t know how far below the surface rock the soil is. They sure do produce some interesting forms though, don’t they!

    I’d guess that in your area the surface has worn down to more solid rock. These are very young mountains here, and haven’t had the same amount of erosion yet,


    Comment by montucky — September 24, 2008 @ 6:33 am

  15. Eeee!! Snow! That’s just gorgeous! Wow!

    I’ve *really* got to work on my conditioning so I can do those hikes with all that elevation gain. I’m getting better, I can tell, but not as fast as I’d like.

    But, wow, to be able to see that!! That’s motivation indeed!

    Thanks *so* much!!


    Comment by Sara — September 24, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  16. What an amazing winter wonderland. That frost lies perfectly on the trees to give it a real ice world feel.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — September 24, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  17. Just think, down here in the South, we have to spray white stuff from the store on our Christmas trees to get a lousy looking version of what you’re seeing when you hike.

    Great pix, as usual.



    Comment by knightofswords — September 24, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  18. These are some of the most amazing photos I have ever seen…makes me experience a bit of “homesickness” for my beloved Oregon….the trees on the peaks all tend to become “knarled”, from the wind and weather…and they take on shapes that simply take my breath away. Thank you for sharing just a small piece of the many photos you took. What a wonderful experience you must have had…what a memory to make…


    Comment by kristin — September 24, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  19. Sara,

    You would like this trail. In a way it can be a real confidence builder. From the trail head to the top is around 2 miles, but you can take your time on it and not get worn out. The sights are superb on the upper half. Of all the trails I hike, I think there is more “bang for the buck” on this one. Yesterday I pushed it a little because I wanted to get up there before the snow melted, and of course, found out that it wasn’t melting at all at the top.

    This is only 75 – 80 miles from Missoula, so you might try to fit it in to your schedule, if not still this fall, then next spring. It’s worth the effort.


    Comment by montucky — September 24, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

  20. Scienceguy,

    It is a winter wonderland, but one that’s pretty hard to get to in winter. Yesterday was a very rare chance to see it easily. There is some frost on the trees, but that’s mostly snow. It must have come in on a pretty strong wind from the side (north) and froze to the trees as it hit. There were even very small snow drifts on parts of the trail (a preview of things to come).


    Comment by montucky — September 24, 2008 @ 8:15 pm

  21. Malcolm,

    When I was on the top, I thought about you and guessed that things didn’t look quite like this in Georgia at the moment! You would have loved it though!


    Comment by montucky — September 24, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  22. Kristen,

    I’m pleased that you enjoyed the photos. It was indeed a wonderful experience, and the snow conditions at the top were quite rare. I see that mountain every day from the valley, but yesterday I could see just some traces of white at the top and knew I had to investigate: I’m glad I did! Thank you for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — September 24, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

  23. Mercy! Snow in September. I just sent a link to your blog to a friend of mine whose wife hiked the divide trail from Canada this summer. I would be so afraid to do that even if I were in much better shape and experienced. Not enough confidence in my decrepit old self. She is not a youngster though.
    We are having wild winds here tonight. There is a storm coming ashore and even though we are four hours inland, we are still feeling this strange storm. It lends some real meaning to the line “it was a dark and stormy night.”


    Comment by nouveaufauves — September 25, 2008 @ 12:34 am

  24. Nouveaufauves,

    I saw a story in the Washington Post about that storm that you’re getting. You probably don’t even need all that rain at the moment either.

    I’ve read some things about the Divide trail but haven’t seen it myself. I bet it’s really something to experience!


    Comment by montucky — September 25, 2008 @ 9:24 am

  25. what!? already??? It’s beautiful but I doubt I’d ever be ready for that in Sept!


    Comment by silken — September 25, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  26. Silken,

    You might have enjoyed about 10 minutes of it and probably no more. It was really cold up there, but the same conditions may not occur for another ten years and even then I might miss them. I really feel lucky to have been there.


    Comment by montucky — September 25, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

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