Montana's Bitterroot Mountains: Big Creek Lakes and Ranger Point

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misSOULa

wilderness n whiskey
Joined
Aug 20, 2016
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41
A couple weekends ago, my brother and I, as well as our two dogs, set out for a two day, two night excursion into one of the more popular drainages of the Bitterroots. After getting off work Friday night, we hustled down to the trailhead, knowing of a good campsite we had stayed at previously five miles in. It was perfect temps and relatively flat, so we got to the spot known as Teepee Rock in two hours, to give us a head start for tomorrow's bigger day. The next morning, we ventured up the next four miles up to the Big Creek Lakes, gaining in elevation. Once at the lake, we began our off trail adventure. Starting with an incredibly thick and steep bushwhack, we got up onto the ridge of a cirque that sits above the lake. We dropped our packs, and continued on the Ridgeline on our way up to Ranger Point, which sits right on the Montana/Idaho borderline. After a valiant effort of skirting steep snowfields and scree, we decided to turn around approx. 300 feet from the top, the terrain looking a bit too questionable to attempt with dogs. Back down at camp, a crystal clear stream flowed into a cascade down towards the lake below us, a perfect place to allow the legs to recover. By sunset, the view of the lake and surrounding peaks was fantastic. The only drawback, the relentless mosquitoes. But that's July in the backcountry for ya. I was slightly bummed we weren't able to bag Ranger Point, but that bushwhack has me doubting I'll ever attempt it again.

Caltopo Map (mind the red and orange lines, the other lines are a future planned trip):

Click here to view on CalTopo
A short film I made of the trip:

 

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