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Sat, Jul 13 2002 - Otokomi, Singleshot, East Flattop (View Original Event Details)

Coordinator(s): Stephen Smith
Participants:Stephen Smith

Write Up:
Ten GMS members met at the Otokomi Lake Trailhead at 8:00 a.m. for a climb of these three mountains. Climbers included Bill Haring, Ray and Tanya Allen, Alan Gregory, Jerry Moore, Steve Berg, Christina Litchfield, and Stephen and Jodi Smith with 22-month-old Logan. My initial plan as coordinator had been a one-way route with the exit off Napi Point to a waiting vehicle at Lower St. Mary Lake. Some fellow GMS friends went with me on a pre-climb the week before to test this route, but it ended up in a frustrating bushwack along the unmaintained boundary trail near St. Mary – complete with lightning and buzzing ice axes. Many thanks to Brian Kennedy, Ralph Thornton, Jim Till, and John and April Carr for accompanying me on the pre-climb. Since we had missed intersecting the Napi Point trail, I decided that instead of chancing another bushwack, the official run of this climb should be roundtrip from the Otokomi Lake trailhead.

While the weather was better on July 13, it was the hottest day of the year, reaching 99 degrees at the Kalispell airport. The treeless, 1,600’ southwest face of Otokomi Mountain made the heat index even worse. Were it not for snowfields remaining from the late spring snowstorms, there would have been massive dehydration. Nevertheless, we gradually gained the summit of Otokomi in time for lunch. Afterwards, the Allens rested on the summit while we began the ridgewalk to East Flattop via the ridge of Peak 8316. From the summit of East Flattop, the group had a tremendous view of the Fox Creek fire near St. Mary, which blew up to a magnificent plume in the afternoon. My family and I remained on the East Flattop summit with Jerry Moore while the energetic foursome of Steve, Christina, Bill, and Alan walked toward Singleshot Mountain.

Weeks later in a conversation with Ralph Thornton, I discovered that Singleshot’s 7,926’ summit is actually not its highest point. Our group had climbed the adjacent 8,116’ high point thinking it was the summit – but a vertical fissure separates the two. The route description of Singleshot in the Climber’s Guide seems to indicate that its summit is the 8,116’ point. Further research into the topographical maps clearly reveals the summit of Singleshot placed at 7,926’ which is northeast of the fissure, not southwest of it where we stood. Future Singleshot climbers attempting the official summit would probably want to approach it from the Wild Creek drainage or possibly Two Dog Flats. Apologies to the GMS group with me on July 13 for my not recognizing this ahead of time, but at least we were able to enjoy two actual summits with great views. Thanks to Ralph for catching this and clearing it up.

After twelve hours and an extremely hot descent, most of the group enjoyed dinner at the Two Dog Flats Grill at Rising Sun. Thanks to wife Jodi Smith for co-coordinating this climb.

Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Tim Anderson at Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.

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