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Ascent of Morrisy Hill on 2011-07-17

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Sunday, July 17, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Morrisy Hill
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:7588 ft / 2312 m

Ascent Trip Report

On US-12, at virtual mile post 68.5 which is about 26 miles E of White Suphur Springs or 31 miles W of Harlowton, I turned N on FR274. FS signs nearby indicate Spring Creek CG. A white corrugated metal building is near the turnoff. Note or zero your odometer at this point. At mile 0.7 I entered the portals of Spring Canyon with rock walls on both sides. A quarry is on the R. At mile 2.1 the pavement ends at a cattle guard. At 3.9 miles I passed Spring Creek CG on my R. At 4.9 miles, road 6393 goes R; I stayed on the main road. At 7.3 miles I went R at a fork where the L branch is FR2019. At 11.9 miles I went R at an unsigned fork. Immediately thereafter, the road makes a sharp R turn through Whitetail CG, with parts of the CG on both sides. The road essentially turns from N to E at this point. At 13.6 miles is an unsigned fork. FR274 goes L; I went R on FR189. At 17.1 miles is a fork. The R branch is a side road; I took the L branch, staying on the main road. At ~19 miles, I began seeing signs for ATV trails, usually with numbers in the 600s. At 23.4 miles I reached the Haymaker Park TH #604, where I parked nearby at a minimal pullout.

I hiked trail #604, which is an ATV track. After ½ mile, I reached Haymaker Park, a meadow, and a junction where a L turn is trail #603. I made a slight R turn to remain on #604. The western ramparts of Bluff Mtn, once believed to be the Wheatland county HP, loom ahead. In the next ¼ mile the trail crossed Haymaker Park and descended into a gully with another junction. A L turn would be trail #601; I turned R on #606. Somewhere in the next ½ mile, the trail changes to #601 and crosses a meadow and a creek, after which is a junction where staying straight would put you on #619; I turned L to remain on #601, now called the Nevada Creek Trail. Note: MyTopo shows the junction on the near side of the meadow; this is incorrect; the junction is actually in the forest beyond the meadow, and also beyond a creek crossing. From this junction, #601 makes a gradually ascending R traverse, gaining ~350' elevation, after which it reaches a pass, meadow, and fence, with an open view of the objective. Over the next mile, the trail descends 400' to a saddle and junction. I went straight across the junction, plunged into the forest on the other side, and began the final leg to the summit, which gains 700' in ½ mile cross-country. The first 250' gain are in unrelenting forest with considerable deadfall. Then I reached a flat, partly open ridge top with little elevation gain for the next few minutes; then I reached the base of the final push. I could occasionally see white rock outcrops on a steep talus slope above, and for a few minutes I thought I'd have to navigate through them. Just as the talus began to steepen, however, I intercepted a trail that made an ascending traverse in the forest to the L. Its condition was much better than a typical animal trail, but it was hard to tell if it had ever been purposely maintained by humans. To this day I'm not sure whether the trail was of animal or human origin. It gained a few hundred feet on a L traverse, then switched back to the R before gaining about 100' more and finally fading out as the slope eased. All in all, the trail was very useful because it bypassed a steep talus scramble. A few minutes of light bushwhacking and scrambling the final 100' gain brought me to the partly open summit, whose vegetation cover is mostly small, scrubby, scattered evergreens. The massive sprawl of Bluff Mtn dominates the view to the N.
Summary Total Data
    Extra Gain:650 ft / 198 m
    Route:Haymaker & Nevada Gulch Trails
    Trailhead:Haymaker Park TH  
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:2 Hours 



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