The original plan for Aug. 17 had been to climb Heavy Runner by a circuitous route that traverses around the back side of Reynolds and then descends the diagonal on the front side of Heavy Runner. On July 19, in preparation for the mid-August climb, Rick Hanners, Johanna Bangeman, Lisa Prugh and John Prugh scouted out the summit towers of Heavy Runner. After gaining the summit by unnecessarily climbing a Class 5 unprotected open book on the south face of the eastern-most tower, John discovered the Class 4 chimney we were looking for, thus avoiding the complications of assembling a gigantic rappel anchor out of the summitís rotten rock.
But by August the fires that had been burning across the Park got worse. At the last minute, Johanna contacted the climbers who had signed up for Heavy Runner and changed the peak assignment to Rising Wolf (9,513).
The route began near the head of Two Medicine Lake where a creek crosses the northside trail. After ascending beargrass slopes, we climbed the green stairstep gully just right of the canyon directly below the summit and immediately left of a gravel scree slope, which we later descended. A party of four Missoulians we met at the trailhead chose the diretissimo, ascending straight to the summit up the cliff bands in the canyon. This route poses more rockfall hazards, I believe, and often is filled with snow in early summer.
After climbing several thousand feet of good quality fourth
class rock, we broke out onto the rubble-strewn east ridge and
stopped for a snack with the summit cairn in sight. Just then,
a grizzly bear popped up over the ridge from the Young Man
Lake side. Despite our yells, it continued toward us, stopping
at a small snowbank where it munched on snow and cooled
its fanny. About 30 minutes later, the bear got up, shook off
some snow and ambled back over the ridge. We then shouldered
our packs and cautiously completed our climb to the
summit. The descent from the saddle east of where we gained
the ridge was smooth as silk, with only an occasional rock
band disturbing a narrow band of marble-sized scree.
Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Tim Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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