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Ascent of Crow Peak on 2010-08-25

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Date:Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Crow Peak
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:9414 ft / 2869 m

Ascent Trip Report

Get thee to a nunnery or at least to the pseudo-mining-ghost-town of Elkhorn. Actually there are still some people living here but also lots of old buildings and mining junk. Mildly interesting. Beyond here the road forks and folks have taken different approaches. It certainly looked to us like the W route is the more direct, efficient and faster way to go. I call it W because it comes in at the peaks from the W but actually you are going N out of town. I was able to drive this rough road until about 7040' at a saddle. Here I started up the road further in spite of the fact that the water had severely eroded the left side of the road for a while. But I quickly thought better of it and went back and parked at 7040'. Beyond here there really isn't much parking and it is a clear 4WD route eventually. I think I could have pushed up maybe a mile but it was bad and it wouldn't have been worth it for the risk of getting stuck.

This is a steep straight 4WD road if you walk it which means that you'll make great time up the mapped road to the turnoff at 8440'. We took this other road in the forest which I found the junction to be just a hair past where the map shows it per my GPS. We walked this road up maybe 200 vertical feet where we found a chain across the road and a new cabin/house that has recently been finished. The signage here said Private Property, No Motorized Vehicles and there was also a No T sign but the latter had been covered up by some duct tape. Who knows if that tape was placed by the owner or a visitor? In any event, you're walking at this point and I would think if you just stick to the road you are OK. This is basically some sort of inholding in the NF which looks to maybe have been converted from a mining claim to a summer cabin. How's come no one is covering the story of the gentrification of mining towns into bourgeois rural fiefdoms amongst our rural public land? Seriously though, it seems likely that you are OK being here but step lightly.

Continue on the road and it goes to some old prospect holes. Beyond that it narrows down to a track and a trail and continues with a few cairns to the edge of forest below Elkhorn at 8900'. Note where you left the forest. Beyond here you can either look for a bootpath of sorts on the left side or pick your way up grass and then talus to Elkhorn. Nothing worse than class 2 either way. We tagged Elkhorn first and you basically have to go right over it to get to Crow as contouring around wouldn't work well. From Elkhorn you drop down to the saddle, finding an occasional bootpath and then cairns in the talus. No real path in the forest. You'll want to drop lower than the saddle elevation as the lower open forest terrain is much faster than the higher, easy but slow talus so drop to at least 8800'. We went from the saddle basically S and you can see the talus on your L and you just always stay a hair below that talus while trying to find shade from the merciless sun. Once near Crow we just headed up. More of the same, grass yielding to talus as we came in from the NW. No issues. This is definitely the bestest way to tag both peaks. Ken felt that Crow sighted as highest both ways and he believed in that. I have no idea what is highest. If you just tagged Crow then the other route probably becomes pretty comparable to this one in effort. Certainly that other route is longer for both peaks and looping the whole trip to both out is also longer than this route. Generally this is a nice area but there is enough talus and road-walking to make it not the absolute greatest route ever invented.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3574 ft / 1088 m
    Extra Gain:600 ft / 182 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:4WD Road to Elkhorn Traverse
    Trailhead:N of Elkhorn City  7040 ft / 2145 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Hot
Ascent Part of Trip: CrowElkhornMT

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Elkhorn Peak2010-08-25 a
2Crow Peak2010-08-25 b



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