Tag Archives: kootenai canyon

The Tempest

I’m really not a Shakespeare nut, but there’s a classic route in Kootenai Canyon just south of town with the same name. It’s long (33m) and reasonably hard (5.11b), and sometimes confusing. In a good way that’s kinda like life. Skiing Gash point on Sunday pointed to a few more of those lessons.

Sometimes life really bucks your expectations.


walking with skis

Walking with skis wasn’t the plan. Simon and Martin smile anyway and keep going.

Or maybe, you can’t see where you are going at all. Things feel cold and scary, and you wonder why you make the choices that you do.

gash point bitterroot, backcountry skiing, avalanche evaluation

Looking into a different sort of tempest. Simon and Madison evaluate the “spring skiing” on Gash Point.

But we smiled into it, and kept going. The cool thing I’ve noticed is that when that is the mantra, good things generally happen. It’s hard for me to admit that sometimes and I don’t know why.

powder skiing, backcountry skiing, boot deep

“Huh… look at all that fluffy stuff.”

(the skiing was really quite nice after all on Sunday)

Life can feel like a tempest sometimes- one that tends to obscure the important parts of ourselves, and our lives as part of our communities. Getting outside is what clears my head and gets me operating properly again.

It’s suddenly a beautiful spring in Missoula. The Tempest (climbing route) has been on my tick list since I first heard about it, but I’ve only touched it once. That first time humbled me, and I’ve avoided it ever since. I promised myself it would be a project this year. Just before I left home this morning I looked at the weather and texted my good friend Michael about climbing outside after work. I didn’t want to avoid looking at the route any more. We stole out a little early, warmed up, and got right to it.

The Tempest Kootenai

Michael clears the lower turbulence on the route.

I surprised myself when I hung all the draws without falling off. I can’t call it my first project of the season, because it only took me one go to send it cleanly. The send matters less than the lesson: with preparation, willingness, and a clear head things aren’t always so hard as they might seem.

It’s gonna be a good season.

“The only real limits are the ones we create in our own minds.”



Pack It In

I’m catching up on my adventure stories tonight, because frankly I’ve been packing it in this summer.  Per my previous post, my good friend Dustin was in Missoula from August 16-22, and per our usual style, we packed it in.  Highlights included rock climbing at Kootenai, floating the Clark Fork, and rad 3 day backpacking trip between Kootenai canyon and Big Creek Canyon- covering ~37 miles in ~48 hours, with a 6 mile technical ridge scramble in the middle.  Dustin has a way of compelling me to step up and be a better version of myself in a way that few other people do- and he usually does it just by being himself.  I’ll let the photos tell the story:

It’s been a while since Dustin’s been on the ropes, but his knots still look good.

Clear views of some sweet faces on night 1.

Psyched to be in the Bitterroot high country- just such a fun place to play.  We spent most of the day scrambling the ridge on the left.

Yes, we have matching visors. My old one went missing, and Dustin wanted a piece of Montana… (photo by Dustin).

Big Creek Lakes may hold some first ascent possibilities- if you want to haul your gear 14 miles…

Dinner was just that good.

On the way out (photo by Dustin).

A huge thank you to my dear friend for making the trip out here, and continuing to be a driving force for many good things in my life.