Saturday, December 1, 2012

Skiing Ward and Camas Mountains

Posted By on Sat, Dec 1, 2012 at 5:11 PM

This week with bright high pressure, I toured these two majestic peaks side by side southwest of Hamilton.

Skinning to the Summit of Camas with Ward Mountain in the background
  • John Lehrman
  • Skinning to the Summit of Camas with Ward Mountain in the background

Ward seemed like a long shot, mostly a hike with skis. We had skins on by 5,500 or so and stayed on the trail past the spring where we detoured south to the shoulder of Ward Bowl. It was partly filled in and looked good at the entrance, but deep in the bowl there were many rocks and trees and danger.

IMG_1622.jpg
We skinned onto the summit where we took some photos in the old lookout foundation and pulled on puffys. We skied back down along the ridge to the north, enjoying the low angle fast powder.
The Backside of Downing Mountain- Partly burned in the right places
  • John Lehrman
  • The Backside of Downing Mountain- Partly burned in the right places
Down through the glades of young larch and whitebark past a few old trees, escapees from the old fire, and into the gully and head of Judd Creek.
Skiing the glades at Ward Mountain
We skied a few switcbacks and down into the upper part of the burn before becoming confined to the trail and then to walking. We swapped for boots and hiked out in comfort to the car.

Two days later, venturing up Camas Creek to the Kidney Lake basin captured our fancy so off we went. I was again quite skeptical as we skinned in on two inches of snow, which never became solidly more than two feet of snow. This years snow however is quite dense and very supportive and we were able to skinned without collapsing all the way to the summit. The summit of Camas peak is an exceptional Bitterroots experience. With incredible views near and far of world class ski terrain and fall lines and a summit ridge which disappears in the distance servicing a half dozen avy paths south into North Fork Lost Horse, and a beautiful falline to the north and east as well, it is the skiers summit of the range.

Summit Camas Peak

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