Ward Mountain, Bitterroot, MT – BC skiing

Date: Sunday Jan 5, 2020
Participants: Forest Dean, Frank Dean, Brent Meyer, Fintan Marguie, Adam Drobish, Dexter Hale, Tom Jones
Trip leaders: Joshua Phillips and Susanna Girolamo Phillips,

Our plan was to ski Stonewall Creek just north of Lincoln, MT. But the avalanche advisory warned of high danger in the backcountry. Therefor we went up Ward Mountain, in the Bitterroot. We toured up the NE ridge of Ward Mountain to the summit and skied the same way out.

On Sunday nine of us adventured out before an other weather cycle rolled in. We meat in the morning to start our day and carpooled to south Hamilton.
The mountains welcomed us early with warm air and an overcast sky. We boot-packed the lower part of the mountain trail until we got at about 4’700 ft. Above 5’200 ft we found lots of new snow. Breaking trail through knee-deep snow became challenging. The two feet of snow did not have enough structure to hold a body weight. During our ascend, several of us took turns in breaking trail. From 6’000 ft above the snow was great.
As soon as we hit 8’300 ft we felt cold winds blowing across the mountain ridge. We made it to the summit after 12 PM. Some of us took a quick lunch break, then took a group photo & retread off the windy and cold summit to make our way back down the mountain. We skied down from the 9100′ summit, and stopped at 8200′ to dig a pit and evaluate the snow pack.
The skiing down to 6’000 ft was excellent. Fresh snow powder! The rest of the way out was in two feet of snow with no base. Caution was required. Soon we found our self’s skiing through thin snow. We then decided to pack our skis and hike the rest of the way out. We made it back to the car around 4 PM.

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