Camping Without the Crowds

By: Breanna Harmer

Choosing the correct time of year is crucial.

Think a little outside of peak season when camping.

I’m personally a fan of mid-May and September.

Two Medicine, Glacier National Park in September

Consider backpacking. Yes, it is a bit more work but it is also 100% worth it.

Waking up to a backcountry sunrise is an unbeatable feeling.

I would highly recommend the Grand Tetons in August, especially if you’re a fan of wildflowers. It is still chilly so pack your warm gear!

Get your backcountry permit early! It is surprising how quickly these go and there are limited sites. If you’re unlucky and don’t get a permit you might be forced to find a different hike or abandon your backcountry plans altogether.

Check out apps like AllTrails

We went backpacking in the Mission Mountain Wilderness on the 4th of July and it was one of the best ideas we’ve had. There weren’t many people, the weather was perfect, and we were away from the National Park chaos.

Holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day are major camping holidays. Opt-out of the beer and think whiskey and backpacking. Look for trails that are more under the radar. There might be some like-minded people like you on the trail but far less then if you were to try to claim your stake on Seeley Lake or Flathead.

Be flexible! If a site seems too busy, don’t be afraid to look for a different one. Some of my favorite camping sites have been found after leaving a less exciting one behind.

Checking a map for a water source is a good way of finding a good site. Chances are that if it’s near a river or lake that it’ll come with a view as well.

Avoid geotagging on social media. If you like a site because there weren’t many people there, don’t expose it.

This might be controversial but I really do believe every little bit helps in preserving the things we love. It’s one thing to tell a few friends but if you have 1,000 followers on Instagram, you could possibly be telling around 1,000 people about this newfound gem. Mum’s the word

Don’t worry, he wasn’t caught. Just an expert fence climber!

I also think part of the joy of camping comes from discovering new spots on your own. It has become too easy to look everything up, it’ll mean more to you if you find it yourself.

Ski Report: Lolo Peak 11/15

Winter has arrived, and the Bitterroot Range is at its early stages of being ski friendly again. With about 6-8″ at ~6,000ft and 18-20″ in wind protected areas at ~8,000 we are well on our way to a solid year. For our tour, we took to the prestine and pretty easy to reach, Lolo Peak for a short 9 mile ~4,000 vertical ft tour. For more adventurous tours, to include Trapper Peak couloir, visit MontanaEscapades.com

 

Lolo Peak TH, on a crisp 5 degree morning

Those familiar, the shortcut has enough snow cover to save you time!

Atop Carlton Ridge with the beginnings of Mormon Peak to the right, and N. Lolo Peak center. The true summit of Lolo Peak lies just east behind it.

After a brisk skin up to Carlton Ridge we scanned the clearly wind spanked east face of N. Lolo Peak. There was hope though! Although the peak has zero ski tracks, we convinced ourselves there was a small path that might support Lolo Peak’s first decent of the year.

Mike making the last push to Lolo Peak, with Carlton Lake below.

The true summit, and vastly less visited portion of Lolo Peak.

We did a tour to Lolo Peak proper last year: http://www.montanaescapades.com/2013/11/lolo-peak-trifecta.html

Sweeney Peak looking dapper

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The skiing got better the lower we went, but going slow was the plan as there were plenty of underlying rocks.

 

 

 

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We are sitting pretty for a great year. Although there wasn’t much of a base layer on this tour, the warm weather over the weekend should be just enough to set up a great foundation. There is just one more weekend before one can make use of the Mormon road since it’ll be gated Dec. 1st until May 15th. Otherwise you’ll be stuck using the Mill Creek TH, which is quite the stretch of the legs.