Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hyalite Peak to Mt Blackmore Traverse

After spending the past 2 weekends climbing in loose preparation for an upcoming trip to the bugaboos, I was extra excited to get out for a long run/scramble in the mountains. 
looking S at the bulk of the route with hyalite peak in the distance, L of center
My route of choice was the somewhat classic hyalite peak to mt blackmore traverse.  I elected to go in a S to N direction to take advantage of the easy runnable grade of the hyalite peak trail but there are certainly other advantages to doing it in reverse (deal with the rough, slow terrain earlier in the day, easy to bail down the trail into the shower creek basin if needed and be able to swim in hyalite lake prior to running the trail down at the end of the day).
one of many beautiful sections of hyalite creek
closing in on hyalite peak 
looking down canyon from atop hyalite peak
I parked at the blackmore TH and ran an easy warmup 4 miles to the hyalite TH.  Another 6 miles of great running put me in the basin below hyalite peak where I filled water and hiked to the top (one snow-covered switchback but easily avoided).  I ate and left a quick note in the summit log while soaking in the incredible view of mountains in nearly every direction.  I then headed N along the ridgeline on some fast, easy terrain over a series of unnamed highpoints.  I was a little surprised to cross paths with another runner shortly before divide peak who was in the midst of the same traverse in the opposite direction. 
scenic shower creek basin, hyalite peak in distant center
shelter for those benighted on route? 
rougher than it looks section from mt bole to elephant mt

optional but fun class 4 section on really unique rock

always cool to cross paths with mt goats in the mountains
From divide peak the pace slowed a bit as the terrain grew rougher but it was still easy going to mt bole.  Unfortunately storm clouds were building overhead put I pressed onwards towards elephant mt on the slowest and roughest terrain of the route.  It was cool to see a large group of 15+ mountain goats through here.  Once down from elephant and on the blackmore trail, I was pleased the legs still had enough pep to comfortably run to the top.  With storms clouds still threatening, I quickly finished my food and water before bombing down the approx. 6mi trail to the truck.  A quick swim in the reservoir rounded out the day.

Stats: about 24mi/7k vert in just over 8 hrs (4mi/40min of that was road between the two trailheads)

Rose: just a great day out in the hills exploring some new country
Thorn: stressing over storm clouds for multiple hours (but fortunately nothing materialized til back in town running errands)
Bud: returning for a similar traverse on skis, including a descent of this beauty
pinner couloir?


  1. Good timing- glad to find this post as I'm hoping to do this in about 10 days- seems like it's fairly straightforward to navigate the ridge- any tricky spots other than the 4th class stuff?

    1. no, in general route finding is very straight forward. the section from mt bole to elephant is the roughest terrain and therefore the toughest but I dropped off the ridge proper onto the S side as needed (sometimes as much as ~300 vertical feet) and it was fine (slow and loose terrain though). have a good time! and bring plenty of water up on the ridge.