Hyalite Canyon is becoming what the High Peaks Region in the Adirondacks or Jay
Peak in the Green Mountains has been in past years. We spent the earlier months of the season exploring the go-to destinations in the area but now we're itching to see the routes less traveled.
One of the peaks we had been looking at is Maid of the Mist Mountain. A very picturesque mountain it naturally drew us in. From the trail the visible aspect of the peak is the eastern side, a huge rocky face. We made our way along a well trafficked trail until we reached the creek we would follow up to the southern side of the mountain. From there it would be a bushwhack.
The way up was a steep with minimal room to maneuver which led to a few belly flops from each of us. As I started working my way up one small steep section I felt my skins losing traction right before I started to slide backwards. "It's happening!" I yelled as I crashed into Kevin before finally toppling over.
Thankfully there was a group that had been up before us which made our ascent just a little easier. After a few more stumbles and laughs we finally made it to the Maid and passed along it's southern rocky face. We got some good views of the treacherously steep couliors that would require some dialed technical skills and some rope. Definitely not for today.
The backside of the Maid is drastically different from the front. It almost resembles a big slug, but I guess that's a way less appealing name. The slope was gradual and in no time we were at the summit. What made bagging this peak even sweeter was the sun finally peaking through the clouds as we transitioned to downhill mode.
After skiing some thoroughly baked sun crust snow, we found ourselves on top of the creek we planned to ski. The drainage was wide and steep and snow the was stable. It was some real adventure skiing and felt very similar to the slides in the Northeast.
We maneuvered our way through a few more steep pitches and over some mandatory sends and found ourselves back on the main trail. Exploring our little corner of Southwest Montana has been a trip. It's remarkable how much terrain there is in this one area. We got on the trail after 7am, skied 2000 feet of vertical, and got back to the car by 3pm. As we head back I reflect on the adventure we just had and begin thinking of the next one.