Mountain High 

Glacier National Park’s showcase status stands without question—the waterfalls are too stunning, the lakes too turquoise, the peaks too dramatic and the grizzly bears too real. But for all its soaring alpine splendor, the Crown of the Continent is home to only six summits higher than 10,000 feet: Mount Cleveland (10,466’), Mount Stimson (10,142’), Kintla Peak (10,101’), Mount Jackson (10,052’), Mount Siyeh (10,014’) and Mount Merritt (10,004’).

While Mount Cleveland is recognized as the most difficult mountaineering challenge, it’s Mount Stimson that’s arguably the largest and wildest stand-alone mountain in the park.

These factors have the Rocky Moun-taineers plotting an adventure to Stimson’s summit, a three-day epic Sept. 16–20 that will have them (and you?) fording the middle fork of the Flathead River, trudging up the Coal Creek trail and kicking back in the bear-friendly Martha’s Basin. From there committed climbers will begin a memorable hump up to the impressive summit. Call Steve Schombel (721-4686) a.s.a.p. to join this five-star adventure.

Gather, gather at the river: The 2004 Fall Festival River Run Relay will amass three-person teams for 5K legs of a 15K relay on Sept. 18 at Loyola H.S.’s Rollin Field. There’s food (loaves? fishes?), raffles (gambling?), T-shirts and a costume contest, so get your trinity together and make like a bat out of hell as the $60 per team relay benefits Missoula Catholic Schools. Call Maryann at 327-2514 for the word.

Celebrating 40 years of Wilderness Act protections of public lands, this year’s Riverfest will include a variety of speakers, weed pulls, demonstrations and music by Cash for Junkers to commemorate this vital legislation. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 18 in Caras Park, UM’s Wilderness Institute will join the Montana Natural History Center and Missoula County’s Weed District in this free, open-to-the-public event. You can join the local leg of the national “Walk for Wilderness” along the river trail or stick around while Bud Moore and Stuart Brandborg discuss the significance of the Wilderness Act from national and global perspectives. For more information, call The Nature Center at 327-0405.

And speaking of wilderness, we reported on the Montana congressional delegation’s notably dismal track record of providing protections to Montana’s remaining (but unprotected) roadless areas over the last 20 years (see “Wilderness on Hold,” Aug. 5, 2004). But that’s not the case in Idaho, where last week Republican Rep. Mike Simpson released draft legislation to protect more than 300,000 acres of the Boulder-White Clouds region with “big-W” status. The deal includes a generous giveaway of land near larger urban areas to motorized users too, resigning the state to motor-generated noise, erosion and invasive weed dispersal on 1,200 acres of “parks.” Although this proposal is far from ideal, giving motorheads a designated place to tear about (theoretically) helps keep their machines away from proposed no-go areas. This rare pro-wilderness bill will likely be introduced later this month.

Meanwhile, here in Montana, Sen. Conrad Burns says in his monthly newsletter that he is “pleased that my Flathead and Kootenai National Forest Rehabilitation Act…frees up 20 million board feet of timber.” Calling it a “common sense solution,” Burns says that the road building, logging and eventual removal of 20 million board feet of the public’s trees will mark the end of “years of fire and destruction.” Montana’s forest guardians are considering an appeal. Cheapskates tired of waiting until the fee collectors go home before sneaking into Glacier National Park during the wee hours should consider celebrating National Public Lands Day in the park. On Sept. 18 you can score free admission to the park, although other park fees (like camping) still apply. You can further celebrate your public lands by joining the Montana Conservation Corps on a volunteer project slated to improve a trail near Bowman Lake on the park’s western border that same day from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Call MCC at 755-3619 to learn more and get on the list.

Ten thousand runners, walkers and bicyclists in more than 100 cities are attempting to log more than 100,000 miles as a pre-vote mobilization to flush Bush from the White House. If you’re looking to join the Run Against Bush, meet on the Missoula Courthouse Lawn on Sept. 18 with a good pair of tennies and a can-do attitude. If you need more info, e-mail Joanna (smetanka@netzero.net), or log on to www.runagainstbush.org.

Join the New Rocky Mountaineers on Sept. 19 for a “hike/scramble” up a mile of vertical to East St. Mary’s Peak (9,425’) in the Missions. Be prepared for winter weather, an excellent workout, unparalleled views and a near-insatiable post-climb appetite. Call Gerald Olbu at 549-4769 for more information.

Send your outdoor rec schedule to: photo@missoulanews.com.

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