Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blodgett Canyon


Blodgett Canyon is our home canyon.  We could potentially run to the trailhead and the first few miles are starting to feel like our backyard.  It is a rock climber's dream with soaring buttresses galore and a creek dotted with swimming holes.


Ryan and I decided it was high time to explore the rest of the canyon and packed for a three day trip to see what we could see.  


After the first three miles we said goodbye to the familiar granite walls and headed into dense forest.  Blodgett Canyon burned in 2000, clearing out the start of the canyon of brush and trees that are slowly growing back.  There is a very distinct line between open canyon and forest where the fire must have stopped.


After what seemed like an eternity of forest, the trees opened up into a meadow of beargrass and shrubs, allowing us to see the craggy peaks and more shining granite.  There were more patches of forest after that, but the occasional meadows kept us going strong.


One spire on Point 8252 which is home to Cesear's Palace

We kept our eyes opened for Cesear's Palace, a twenty pitch 5.10 climb on a buttress just past the wilderness boundary that a long time local climber told us about.

The backside of Point 8252

Until we walked a little further and saw another clean, granite peak that could easily a 5.10 multipitch.  We double checked an old American Alpine Journal, and the climb is on the mountain in the photo.  



We made camp the first night in the forest between Blodgett Pass and Blodgett Lake.  We considered pushing on through to the lake, but the mosquitos and downed trees on the trail dissuaded us.  Our real goal for the trip was Blodgett Pass and getting into alpine terrain.  

Sunset painted pretty colors on the granite spires.  You can see Blodgett Pass in the photo above: the low point on the ridge just left of the peak.


We made good time to Blodgett Pass the next morning and took some time to explore.  We scrambled up the solid, clean granite of the ridge to Blodgett Peak (but didn't climb the peak this time because we did not bring the right gear for the large snowfield), and then went on a search for water in the basin below.  All but one small patch of dirt snow was melted at pass level at about 8,000'.


The streams of water running down granite walls from the snowfields up high consolidated into a picturesque creek that wound its way through the granite field below.  I may have skipped over the large talus singing The Hills are Alive from the Sound of Music, but I'll never tell.  


Glacier lilies carpeted the patches between boulders and rock slabs.  These flowers are like magic moisture hunters: if there's a tiny bit of water in the ground they'll find it and grow.  The alpine terrain is battling between Spring and brittle dryness right now.


The abundant granite was amazingly clean and solid.  No disintegrating kitty-litter granite or moss gardens here!   


My most appreciated piece of gear on this trip was the mosquito head net.  Indispensable.  Can't believe I almost left mine at home.  The mosquitos were intense at times, especially at dusk, but even during midday in some places.  Snowmelt happened pretty recently in some of the areas we traveled through and I'm hoping that the mosquito population decreases as the season progresses.


I made the right choice to bring our mesh-bodied Big Agnes Seed House tent (I wrote a post about my tent deliberations).  We didn't need the rain fly at all, and Ryan spent some time photographing mosquitos on the netting after they chased us into the tent after dinner.


Blodgett Canyon is spectacular.  At our farthest point, we were just over 13 miles from home yet it felt very remote.  I still can't believe I get to live here.


2 comments:

Julie Smith said...

The Blodgett Canyon is a great campground with a moderately easy trail that leads to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, and a great place for setting up a tent. There is no better Blodgett Canyon guide than this one. I also found great cold weather tents here: http://wildernessmastery.com/camping-and-hiking/best-cold-weather-tents.html

Rick Torre said...

there are huckleberry bushes the size of trees on the pass to mill.visitors should be aware grizzly bears have been seen in those avalanche chutes.....