It's been a bit since I did one of these trip write ups. I spent the summer at home spending most of my time working and saving money for the big move out to Bozeman, Montana. With my free time I'd do some weekend adventures with friends upstate and spend time with Hope. On October 18th I packed my Subaru with my gear and belongings and made the journey west. By November 1st it was full on winter and our local backcountry zones were filling in nicely.
Chris and I woke up to some fresh wet and heavy snow on the ground in Bozeman. Unsure of what the conditions would be at a higher elevation so we set a mellow goal for our day in the backcountry.
Upon arriving in the parking lot at Hyalite Canyon it was clear the conditions were going to be better than we thought. We started up the trail and passed the sign reading five miles to the summit.
After a couple hours we reached a meadow below the ridge leading up to the summit and dug a pit to evaluate the risk of avalanches. We decided the snow was stable and we had a great shred down the meadow below us.
After a refreshing beer at the bottom we sent it back up to see how the snow near the summit was. Once we got on the ridge we could see some tracks off the summit and two skiers heading up in that direction. While other skiers' tracks don't always mean you're good, we felt the snow was safe to ski from the pit we dug earlier.
Eventually it got to the point where we had to strap our gear to our backs and break out the new ice axe. I'm no climber so even some entry level ski mountaineering will get my heart racing. After a few minutes of kicking my boots into some holds, stabbing my axe through the snow, and lots of heavy breathing we summited.
The landscape of this place is both magnificent and humbling. The best thing you can do is respect it and hope it respects you back.