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Sat, Jul 30 2011 - Eagle Ribs & Mount Despair (View Original Event Details)

Coordinator(s): Dell Meuchel
Participants:Dell Meuchel, Greg Notess, Colter Lane, Warren Lane, Rich Briles

Write Up:
As the day approached for the climbs of Eagle Ribs and Despair the number of participants dwindled from 10 to 5, a premonition? What might we be getting into? Colter and Warren Lane, Greg Notess, and Rich Briles joined me at 6:45 am for an equipment check (Do we take the crampons and ice axes or not?) at the Cobalt Lake trail head up the Two Medicine Valley heading toward Two medicine. We proceeded at a steady rapid pace, Colter in the lead (to be young again); encountering only an occasional snow drift at the upper reaches of the trail. By 11:15 we had traversed the southwest flank of Grizzly and were on the summit ridge of Eagle Ribs. At that point began a pattern that would continue through the remainder of the climbs, work around the snow fields and snow filled gullies to reach the summits. We became stymied at Eagle Rigs with the summit gully filled with snow and steep snow covered flanks leading to the gully. There was a shared search for an alternate route lead by Greg whose patience and skills led us to the top. The subsequent traverse to Despair was again slowed by snow fields. More than once our leader went astray on the goat trail traverse but we reached the final approach. We had earlier observed from the traverse across Grizzly the crux of the Despair climb was blocked by a large steep snow field. At that point summiting Despair did not look feasible. At the base of the snow field, some 400 feet below the summit gully, Colter and Warren led the charge to climb the snow field and “check it out”. At once we all began the process of donning crampons (and we almost left them) and getting out our ice axes. With Colter’s excellent lead and Warren’s encouragement we were at the gully in no time and the group was excited about a possible second summit (third counting Chief Lodgepole). Group pictures were taken on Despair’s summit at 3:30 and by 4:00 our long journey home began. The return adventure became a challenge as we opted to not re-summit Eagle Ribs and instead drop below the cliffs and traverse the snow field. We should have known the snow field was longer (about 1000 feet) and steeper than we anticipated. We reached the summit ridge of Eagle Ribs without incident and went into hyper-drive on the trails out. By my estimate we travelled over 20 miles and 7500 vertical feet, a yo-yo accent. It was a tremendous group to share this experience with, a true team effort. Dell Meuchel

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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