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Sat, Jul 28 2012 - Citadel Mountain (View Original Event Details)

Coordinator(s): Bruce White, Rhonda White
Participants:Bruce White, Rhonda White, Don Arthur, Rich Briles, Frank Wesolovski, Dell Meuchel, Greg Notess, Cecelia Notess, Rick Thomas

Write Up:
Citadel Mountain and Dusty Star high point – July 28, 2012 Coordinators: Bruce and Rhonda White Our Citadel climb turned out to be a long, challenging, but rewarding day. We met early at the Virginia Falls Trailhead. From there we hiked to the trail junction to Gunsight Lake, and from there to the area marked on the map as Mirror Pond. We looked for the area where the trail was close to the St. Mary River and right where it appeared that the trail would leave the river course we cut through the brush to the river. Those who crossed where our small trail led to the river were treated to chest deep, very cold water. Others scouted around a bit and were able to find water a little deeper than their waist. After our crossing, a short traverse down river led us to a fairly good game trail that we followed up and eventually found very deep, dense alder. Through this section it was very difficult to tell exactly where we were going. We were certainly going uphill but the alder was very tall and dense. Much of the time you could not see the person in front of you even when they were only 10 feet ahead. We broke through the alder after about 800 feet. We were to the left of the creek draining the cirque between Dusty Star and Citadel. From here we had a short climb to reach the first of four cliff bands. In an earlier scouting with binoculars I felt we could traverse under the first cliff band next to the water course and be able to skirt all four of the cliff bands by staying close to the stream. This worked quite well. After getting through the cliffs, we then skirted the upper cirque to the left staying along its edge just enough to avoid the trees. We worked our way to the obvious notch that would be the easiest place to gain the ridge between the two peaks. After reaching the ridge and a short break, we followed the ridge for a short distance. When it became too cliffy we worked around the back of the peak (the southeast face). We worked up through gullies and terraces to gain the last 1,500 feet to the summit. After a short break with gorgeous views, we retraced our route back to the saddle. While it was getting late, the group still decided we should go from the saddle up to the high point of Dusty Star. This was an easy traverse with only one short obstacle that was 4th Class. It was not exposed and the trip from the saddle to the high point took only about half an hour each way. The actual summit of Dusty Star is farther down the ridge and we did not have the time to continue to the true summit. On the return we again skirted the cirque and the four cliff bands very close to the stream bed. When we reached the alder we followed a trail that was much closer to the stream draining the cirque above. This was a better route but again the alder was very dense and well over our heads. It was also quite steep and the best technique seemed to be to grab an alder trunk and descend as far as you could then grab the next one to help control your descent through the deep brush. We were able to make it back to the river about an hour before dark. After another refreshing crossing, it was a trail hike back. We also found that the river crossing was deeper in the evening with the day’s snow melt running higher. Climbers were: Bruce and Rhonda White, Rick Thomas, Don Arthur, Richard Briles, Frank Wesolovski, Dell Meuchel, Greg and Cecelia Notess.

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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