Montana Outdoors

October 9, 2009

Priscilla Peak Lookout

Priscilla Peak Lookout

The Priscilla Peak Lookout sits atop 7,005 foot Priscilla Peak in the Sundance Ridge roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana. I will post more photos and a story about yesterday’s hike up to it over the next few days (until most everyone gets tired of high country photos).

Priscilla Peak



  1. Snow already, huh. I suppose it is that time of year in the mountains.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — October 9, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

    • There have been a few snowfalls recently to the south of us and a few in high elevations here. This morning though we had about two inches in the valley.


      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  2. The clouds in these two shots really pop.

    My dad just arrived in Bozeman, and he said its coooold.


    Comment by iheartfilm — October 9, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    • I will post more photos from that area. The clouds were beautiful yesterday from the peak.


      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  3. Wow…brings back memories from when I was a kid and visited that lookout.


    Comment by Radd Icenoggle — October 9, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

    • I was pretty disappointed at the condition of the cabin. It was a rental a few years ago I understand, but the inside is really a mess and the outside needs some work to preserve it. We hiked up on the trail from Thompson River and, although the trail is good, it doesn’t look much used. A heck of a hike, but a beautiful one!


      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  4. Some day I’m gonna visit you T and let you show me this incredible beauty you capture for us every day. Wonderful shots and just what the doctor ordered for a quiet Friday evening.




    Comment by Jeff Lynch — October 9, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

    • I’d love to show you this country, Jeff!

      I was not very pleased with the photos I brought back from this trip. We had planned to spend some time at the lookout and get a lot of photos, but when we hit the top there was about a 30 mph wind and a chill factor of around zero. I took a few hasty shots and we had to get off the top and out of the wind. In the first couple minutes, my wet trouser cuffs froze solid and my fingers grew numb.


      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  5. if heaven is any prettier than that, i can’t wait!!


    Comment by kcjewel — October 9, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

    • That’s about the way I feel about it too, Jewel. I spend a lot of time staying fit enough to be able to get up to those peaks and it’s worth every minute of it!


      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

  6. I doubt I’d get tired of high country photos! I love them! Beautiful!!!


    Comment by Stacey - Addicted to The Click — October 9, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

    • Thanks Stacey! This was a great peak for views and I had never been there before. It whet my appetite for more visits to that area. There is a long trail that leads from the lookout along a high ridge that I hope to follow next summer.


      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  7. Saw on the weather map where parts of Montana got snow. My daughter, who lives near Klamath Falls, OR had snow the first of the week. But they live at a 4,000 ft elevation too.

    This old look-out looks ran-down, lonely, forgotten and forlorn. You’ve captured those feelings very well. Get tired of high country?? Never. 😀

    I’ve noticed that the lookouts have wire tie-downs. Are the winds that strong up on the crests?

    Take a look at my Thompson’s Falls photos. Sorry lot. Could have gotten better had I known where to go find them. ptttph!


    Comment by Iona — October 10, 2009 @ 12:37 am

    • I wish the old cabin was in better condition. It is indeed a lonesome place and will be even more lonesome until next summer.

      There are sometimes very fierce winds across those tall peaks and there is nothing there to break up the wind’s force. The cables are necessary. With the wind blowing that day and the low temperature, the wind chill was very dangerous. We entered the building and put on extra clothing, but even at that had to leave very quickly.

      I enjoyed your photos of Thompson Falls. I see that area and those scenes every few weeks and never get tired of them.


      Comment by montucky — October 10, 2009 @ 8:29 am

  8. Priscilla has weathered some storms I imagine! My fingers feel cold just LOOKING at those photos 🙂 Nicely done.


    Comment by Maureen — October 10, 2009 @ 7:39 am

    • I bet it has, Maureen. That’s another lookout that dates back to around 1930. I don’t know if or when it was re-built, but all of the materials would have to be brought in by pack string. Perhaps today they could lower material from helicopter, but there is no place there to land one. Just a little over a week ago we had daytime temps of 80 and so the cold up there was a shock. We hiked in snow after we hit 4800 feet or so, although the trail was on the lee side of the mountain.


      Comment by montucky — October 10, 2009 @ 8:33 am

  9. Never tired of looking at photographs of your high country. Interesting building in that first one, looks like a windy spot for that old place. Amazed it’s standing!


    Comment by Bo Mackison — October 10, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

    • If there’s inclement weather around, the lookouts always see it. I can only imagine how cold it is there in mid winter.


      Comment by montucky — October 11, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  10. That sky is unbelievable!


    Comment by Candace — October 10, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    • The sky scenes from the peaks are nearly always incredible. From them one sees the clouds close to their own level, and sometimes from above and at those elevations there is less haze to deal with.


      Comment by montucky — October 11, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  11. Not likely to get tired of high country photos. The first one with three cloud types is great.


    Comment by DaveABirding — October 10, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

    • As it turned out, those were the start of a snow storm moving in. When we arrived back at the trail head that evening there were a few drops of rain in the air, and during the night there was fairly heavy snow on the peaks and a few inches in the valley.


      Comment by montucky — October 11, 2009 @ 8:39 am

  12. Oh Wooooowww! I love these shots! I do hope you will post more. Takes the breath away. Near zero with the winds? Whew! However, how exhilarating it must have been. Montucky, you must have good bones to be able to climb/hike, and to be able to weather those type of conditions. As long as you post photos like these, I won’t tire seeing them. 🙂


    Comment by Anna Surface — October 10, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

    • I will post a few more. I was very disappointed at the photos I brought back, but it was so cold at the top I just had time to shoot a few and get off the peak. That is a place I will visit again next summer, hopefully.


      Comment by montucky — October 11, 2009 @ 8:40 am

  13. Wonderful images and views Terry, never tire of your images, they are very unique to you and the world you live in !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — October 11, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

    • Thanks Bernie! Those photos are of what I love most about this world. I’m always pleased when other folks enjoy them too.


      Comment by montucky — October 11, 2009 @ 7:10 pm

  14. That Montana sky gives you an unfair advantage Terry! ;^) Absolutely beautiful captures. I am particularly drawn to the feeling of desolation conveyed by the lookout!


    Comment by edvatza — October 11, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

    • The sky can be interesting, especially when seen from or near the peaks. The lookout is a very lonesome place and I love that about it; makes you think. It took a tough 5 mile hike to get there and that was from the closest road 4,400 feet below. Not that many folks go there any more.


      Comment by montucky — October 11, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  15. Keep on posting and I’ll keep on enjoying!


    Comment by SuzieQ — October 11, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

    • Thanks SuzieQ! I will post more from that trip and today I found a trail that I’ve wanted to see for years. There is so much to investigate here!


      Comment by montucky — October 11, 2009 @ 11:08 pm

  16. Absolutely beautiful and awesome, Terry! You really bring us the wild Montana skies! (John Denver reference).

    Someday, if you could, give us some tips on how you balance out the sky and land for us aspiring landscape photographers. Thanks!


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — October 13, 2009 @ 6:32 am

    • Thanks Scott! Balancing those is the toughest to do I think. Any success I have in that area is mostly luck, but here’s what I try to do. Probably the biggest thing is to get up to those high places where the sky is close and you are at the level of the lower layer of clouds.

      I nearly always use spot metering and take several shots with the spot (and focus) on the different highlights. I’m often surprised at which works best. The monitor on the D80 is not the best, especially in bright conditions, but it serves to warn me of the extremes in most cases. Also, I usually shoot at -.3 or -.7 EV to keep from over-exposing. Sure is hard to understand what the camera is thinking some times though!


      Comment by montucky — October 13, 2009 @ 8:42 am

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