Walking the top of Montana's CHINESE WALL | A Bob Marshall Trek

Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
288
Hello everyone

This was an awesome backpacking trip in Montana's mighty Bob Marshall wilderness.
7/15/22 - 7/23/22

The goal of the trip was to walk the top of the Chinese Wall. This was a phenomenal bug-free trip with some great friends. Every photo is just a screen grab from my video below.


7/15/22
The Gathering / Meet up / Shuttle set | Car Camping near the Benchmark TH

PRO of the DAY: A+ Sunset & friends chilling
CON of the DAY: Mega thunderstorm
THOUGHT of the DAY: Semi truck road raging with a prius @ Rogers pass was weird


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Heading toward the Bob

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Watching a thunderhead skirt around us out onto the plains

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It did not skirt us, we got lit up.

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Post-storm sunset

7/16/22
Benchmark TH to S. Fork Sun River Camp
8.56 Miles & 727 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: Great first camp & campfire
CON of the DAY: Very hot, one of my buddies lost their water bottles and had to hike an extra mile to find it
THOUGHT of the DAY: It apparently gets very hot in the bob



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Heading toward the Sun River

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Great walk on a section of the CDT above the River after crossing it.

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Red Butte 8590'

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Looking for a good camp by the river

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Pretty cool camp found. Must be an outfitters camp in the fall. Lots of flat, good water access and deer hangs.

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Rocky mountain afternoon thunderstorm on time

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Everyone turned in early. I went to watch the sunset.

7/17/22
Camp > W. Fork River Crossing > Basin below White River Pass
7.43 Miles & 2212 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: 2 Bears in 1/4 mile!
CON of the DAY: Lots of muddy trail
THOUGHT of the DAY: I could only think about Days 3 and 4 (our wall days)


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There are no dry feet when hiking in the early season in horse country

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Crossing the West Fork, boulders were SLICK

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Massive beargrass

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First bear of the trip

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crossed the steep ravine like it was nothing then watch us pass

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2nd bear sighting in 1/4 mile

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Camp in the basin below White River Pass. The day before our Christmas. Tomorrow we will be up on the Wall. Had a good fire and some beers this night.

7/18/22
Basin Below WRR Pass > Haystack Mountain summit > "Sphinx Park"
5.41 Miles & 1766 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: On the wall
CON of the DAY: Only have 1 more day up on the wall
THOUGHT of the DAY: I wish we had more days on the wall


THE OFF TRAIL ROUTE BEGINS!

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Getting up on the ridge to Haystack

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Toward the summit

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Notch around the corner of the last pic

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Haystack Summit. We are dead center of the Bob Marshall. This is wilderness.

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Next few days on the top of the wall would be a non-stop visual feast.

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First view of the Chinese Wall

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The walk of life

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Looking toward what we would call "Sphinx Park", the "parkland" below Sphinx Mountain

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No rushing. Only enjoying.

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We were not welcomed here

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Taking it all in before entering Sphinx Park from the other "park"

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Our epic camp below Sphinx Mountain in Sphinx Park. A wall on a wall. Wall-ception

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Sunset from near the real walls edge looking east toward the other half of the Bob

7/19/22
Sphinx Park > Cliff Mountain summit > Salt Mountain summit > Larch Hill Pass
12.09 Miles & 4075 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: Cliff Mountain best vista of the trip
CON of the DAY: Very little water after Sphinx Park, hot
THOUGHT of the DAY: Side hilling in blown out boots isn't fun.



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When the view at the start of the day looks like this, you know it will be a good day.

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Wallception captured

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Almost to Cliff Mnt summit

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"She's a beaut' clark"

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The wall with the ultra-remote Silvertip Mountain and the crowded Glacier National Park waaay in the distance

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Looking back from which we came. The rest of the day was grand.

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Walking the top of the wall is a deceiving amount of up and down. Worth it though.

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Looking down the Moose Creek drainage, where we will exit.

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Only picture I got from camp after Larch Hill Pass, a screen grab from me recapping the day on my video.

7/20/22
Larch Hill Pass > Base of the wall > Moose Creek
10.83 Miles & 931 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: Easy relaxing hiking
CON of the DAY: Not a lot of camp spots in the drainage
THOUGHT of the DAY: If there is 10% of precipitation in forecast it hits us 100% of the time.



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Now to walk the base of the wall!

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After leaving the wall and headed down the very wooded Moose Cr Drainage we found a good camp spot. Set up. Then promptly got lit up by a thunderstorm

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Post thunderstorm vibes

7/21/22
Moose Creek > Cross Sun River > Sun River Camp
6.57 Miles & 870 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: Laundry at the river!
CON of the DAY: Hot burn section
THOUGHT of the DAY: How big was the grizzly that took the mega shit?


Saw the largest pile of bear (grizzly) shit I've ever seen in my entire life. Almost the size of a small car tire.

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My friend approves of the cold water on this 95 degree day

Camp was nothing special nor too scenic. It had great river access and we just lounged in it all day / did laundry. Had a great evening talking about cryptids, murders, backpacking trips, areas we want to see and even some cool stories of "the last remaining cave hyena" sighting in the early 1900s in the Nahanni.

7/22/22
Walk along the Sun River > Sun River Camp #2 (Arsenic Creek)
6.37 Miles & 308 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: Amazing final camp spot
CON of the DAY: Had to walk very very far to find a suitable place to go #2, ran out of TP and had to use leafs.
THOUGHT of the DAY: Bring more TP


Our camp at sun river camp #2 is a popular take out spot for pack rafters, we camped there hoping to bum a beer off of them before they hiked out to the wilderness lodge. There were no packrafters or beers though.

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Off trail to find a trail

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tons of grizzly bear sign in this area

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Cloudy and cool meadow walk

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The sun river

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Camp at the pack raft takeout before some crazy rapids


7/23/22
Arsenic Creek > Gibson Reservoir > OUT
7.79 Miles & 855 feet of Elev. Gain

PRO of the DAY: Ending on a good note for a fantastic trip.
CON of the DAY: Drank lots of beer and felt like puking
THOUGHT of the DAY: How far can a low fuel warning vehicle really get you if you are on your 'A' game with driving?



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Hiking out

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Gibson Reservoir

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I was here doing a day hike in early May and this bay was all sand.

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The car ride back to the Benchmark TH was very scenic. But the adventure wasn't over...

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... our shuttle vehicle was almost out of fuel. We should have fueled up before enduring 80 miles of forest service roads. We made it back to the Benchmark and my friend started to head to town with the car running on fumes. He made it into the gas station at the emergency level low fuel warning.

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Another great trip in the books

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THE END
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
1,029
Outstanding trip! Gotta make it into the Bob someday.
 

Absarokanaut

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692
"There is just one hope for repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every inch on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom and preservation of the wilderness."
Bob Marshall

A Jewish kid from New York City is one of the few monumentally responsible for the preservation of American Wilderness. His efforts before his death at 38 will always be one of the greatest gifts any American has given to his country. Thank goodness we had socialists and real civil libertarians when we needed them. How fitting one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet is named for him. Thank you for an awesome report!
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,965
Nice trip......

If you're in touch, Tell Joey to email me......we're supposed to get some trips in this summer, never heard from him .....
 
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
288
Nice trip......

If you're in touch, Tell Joey to email me......we're supposed to get some trips in this summer, never heard from him .....
Last time we messaged was August so I'm not currently in touch, I normally wait for him to contact me for trips since I imagine his email/messages are always full.
 
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Bob

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Last time we messaged was August so I'm not currently in touch, I normally wait for him to contact me for trips since I imagine his email/messages are always full.
Usually the case here.....although usually talk to him a few time over summer. Probably tied up with others on trips....I know hes not in wifi range that much...
 
Joined
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Messages
288
Usually the case here.....although usually talk to him a few time over summer. Probably tied up with others on trips....I know hes not in wifi range that much...
He did tell me you and I should meet up and do a trip in a range he heard both of us fancy over... the Lost River Range in idaho
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,965
Yeah, Have a route thru there, under 50 miles.... Couldnt get him very interested. Needs to be late June to keep some snowmelt around for water.... Ill PM it to you.
 

Jackson

I ❤️ GYE
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
3,117
Absolutely incredible. I only saw the photos so far, but I'm looking forward to seeing the video.

I've been putting off the Bob for far too long. Hard to find many people interested in going, but I'm going to make it happen this year.

"There is just one hope for repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every inch on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom and preservation of the wilderness."
Bob Marshall

A Jewish kid from New York City is one of the few monumentally responsible for the preservation of American Wilderness. His efforts before his death at 38 will always be one of the greatest gifts any American has given to his country. Thank goodness we had socialists and real civil libertarians when we needed them. How fitting one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet is named for him. Thank you for an awesome report!
He was a legendary hiker too! He did a whirlwind tour through the area that is now named for him back in the late 1920s, and he average over 35 miles per day. All on foot, and mostly by himself, for 8 days.
 

randakag

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Messages
20
Amazing post! Sorry I didn't see it until today. We tried to do that trip in the other direction in June 2019*. On the back side of Larch Hill down towards Moose Creek there were so many blowdowns that going a mile took hours. Then a snowstorm came in, so we went out the way we came in. So happy you were able to get up top. How did you get from the "ramp" to Larch Hill Pass???

* https://randakag.smugmug.com/The-Bob-2019/
 
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
288
Amazing post! Sorry I didn't see it until today. We tried to do that trip in the other direction in June 2019*. On the back side of Larch Hill down towards Moose Creek there were so many blowdowns that going a mile took hours. Then a snowstorm came in, so we went out the way we came in. So happy you were able to get up top. How did you get from the "ramp" to Larch Hill Pass???

* https://randakag.smugmug.com/The-Bob-2019/
@ 48:19 in the video you can see it. we dropped down a bit then up a gully rock hopping up to Larch Hill Pass, it was just a series of ledges we plopped down one at a time. Once on the other side we actually saw a climbers trail up to the top of the wall where you can avoid the gully
 

Fungi

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Joined
May 9, 2022
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45
Outstanding! I've wondered if that route was feasible - it's good to see that it is.
 

406explorer

New Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2023
Messages
1
Very nice trip report. We were on top of the wall 7/16-7/17/22 going north to south, just a couple days ahead of you. Watched the sunrise from the summit of Cliff Mtn.. it was magical. Cheers!
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