In the midst of a very unsettled, spring weather pattern, a window of opportunity was presented for our climb of Rocky Top -- the highpoint on the ridge separating Marion Lake and Almeda Lake in the Great Bear Wilderness. You wonít find ĎRocky Topí on any maps. Itís my name for the officially unnamed peak. The first mile or so of the Marion Lake Trail was bare, but it gradually disappeared under snow cover. Reaching the lake, we were happy to find the ice intact, thereby allowing us to traverse directly to the far end and cut over to the ridge SE of Essex Mountain. From there, the climb was simply a matter of ascending the lengthy, snow-covered ridgeline as it wound its way up to the summit perch.
Each participant was required to bring an ice axe, and it came in handy on a few steep pitches. The coordinator somehow managed to forget his own but made due with trekking poles and crampons. The mandated snowshoes were not needed which resulted in some minor whining from a few members about the extra weight added (for no good reason) to the packs. But a little extra weight never hurt anyone, especially in the spring for conditioning purposes.
The weather remained agreeable in the immediate area even though the peaks in the park were obscured by clouds. After lunching on the summit and taking the requisite group photo, we headed back down the ridge. Reaching a point that provided easy access to the expansive, snow-filled bowl rising above Marion Lake, we couldnít resist the glissading urge, not to mention the opportunity to quickly lose several hundred feet of vertical in a matter of seconds, thereby quickening our return to the lake. The Rocky Top ridge glissade is one of the finest and safest in the Glacier area.
In sustaining his absentmindedness for the day, the coordinator left his snowshoes on the ridge. They had been left at the base of a tree on the ascent to be picked up on the
return. However, the glissade option changed the return plan and the group cut-off above the snowshoe stash location. The coordinator had to endure a few jokes about declining
mental faculties, but quickly developed a Plan B. The ridge will be a beautiful climb later in the summer, and the snowshoes can be retrieved at that time. Back at the trailhead, we
enjoyed Dellís famous salsa and other treats. All-in-all, it was a fun day in the mountains with a good group of folks. Thatís what keeps bringing us back for more.
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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