I had just sent my mixed project, retired from my 30+year career, then split to Montana to try a big route (Montana Centennial Route) that my friend Jess Roskelley had recommended to me. A difficult, higher altitude route, we would need to acclimate to the rarer air and rugged nature of the Montana Rockies climbing. What unfolded was one of my favorite trips for the year, and ended up with dozens of micro-stories.
MCR day 1: 9 mile approach to camp at Elbow Lake
MCR day 2:First mistake: Off route p1, and later p10. Next up, we continued up with the threat of thunderstorms, and had a 2+ hour rain squall hit 1 pitch below the summit. To top that off, we didn’t take the time to find the raps, and took the wrong way down. For me, the place had e-p-i-c written all over it.
It also had some real fun, tough climbing on it! The Hooven Leo variation was the start we elected to try. I kept trying to cut right at the beginning chimney, but should have stayed patient, and went higher up to the obvious right hand exit. the rest of that variation was great, and when we joined the regular route, the extreme fun continued. The crux was wild!! A 10+ overhang stared off wet, then went wild into the 11b crazy crux. I got it clean(no falls), but was surprised to do so. Then there are some run-out prows, and another wild 10+ hand crack, before it backs off for the last 2 (still wild!) pitches. I also got off route at p10 and did a couple of aid moves instead of going right.
MCR day 3: 9 mile deproach.
A full value route, sustained difficulty, MCR is a highly recommended adventure for the expert trad alpine climber. Steph’s report pretty much lays it all out. The pitch numbers are confusing with the 2 starts. Thanks to Sterling Ropes again, for making such great products that help us up these crazy climbs!! Thanks as well to Lane, Jenn, Ben, Bekah, Rustin, Kristen, and all of the nice locals I met.
8-2 Lost Horse Canyon, Mountaineers rt 3p 10b+1 10c tr
8-3 Gallatin Canyon, Black Line 10b+10c tr stout, old school
8-5 Montana Centennial Route, Einie Butt. IV+-5-11b-a1 w/Lane
8,7-8 Refrigerator Canyon, Warm up Wall 8p to 11b/c Sweeeet limestone climbing with good friends.