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Pt 8098 & Pt 7558: Battle of the Bear

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Pt 8098 & Pt 7558: Battle of the Bear

Postby boudreaux » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:14 pm

TH: Bear Gulch, 3+ miles bike ride up Waterton Canyon Rd, about a 1/4 mile past residence at dip in the road
Gain: Roughly 2738'
Hiking distance: at least 5 miles
Total Time: 7 hours

Went up to Waterton to push a little farther into the unknown today. Always wanted to go up Bear Gulch and get 8098 from this side and see what the southface of the mountain was like. All the leaves have fallen making the narrow gulch more appealing and less restricting. Very beautiful in there at the beginning and then it opens up into a wider valley. The creek lined with cottonwoods and Ash trees, an occasional small patch of poison ivy. A big wall on the southside plunged the gulch into perpetual shade until you got to the open valley.

After walking along the sometimes faint hunter's/game trail, I began thinking this might have been an old road. Not soon after this, my suspicions came true as I came upon a signed gate. I stood there for a moment pondering my future, should I or shouldn't I? I'm looking at the now turned ATV trail/road and seeing no activity for several dozen yards and made the decision to keep going. I followed Mountain lion tracks in the snow for the next mile? and came upon another gate with same sign on the far side, went another couple hundred yards up the road before finally leaving the road and crossing the creek below 8098. In hindsight, if there is a next time this way, I will avoid this private land by cutting up the slope at the gate instead, I think they bow hunt in there! Especially during deer/elk season!

This is where the crap hits the fan! The climb up the south face was horrible and nearly had me defeated! The scrub was just relentless and it was starting to beat me down. Your arms get a good workout pushing aside all the scrub, but you also do a fair amount of slipping in the rust colored leaves. A tiny amount of snow on the rocks added more misery if not paying attention. So by the time I gained the ridge, I was getting tired, but no rest for the weary! The ridgeline on 8098 above was jagged, but was getting closer and I was picking out my plan of attack to the summit. The mountain had the last say on this as I tried a climbing traverse left up. It seemed the scrub was getting thicker and thicker, so I just went straight uphill and finally climbed up on the ridge through a nasty shute jammed packed with bushes. Having been on the ridge before from a different route, I knew what was coming next and at 1:35 pm, I didn't have the luxury of experiencing the pleasure of it. So I dropped down a little on the snow covered Northside and skirted all the difficulties and made the summit a few minutes later.

Put a nice little register at the base of the summit tower's northside. I think it was my 3rd time up here and no matter how you do it, it requires hard work and lots of determination. More lion tracks up here in the shady northside. On the way back, I traversed the entire northside to where the ridge drops down to the saddle. Deadfall on the northside was minimal, more importantly no scrub, so travel was faster on this side. But once past the end of the rocky ridge even getting to 7558 was very tedious, a very strange ridge run from those 2 peaks, the saddle is the fun part that doesn't look obvious, but once past it, the rest was straight forward. But it was still back and forth from north to south along this part. Whatever presented itself as the path of least resistance is where I went and that's the basis of climbing these dumpster divers. A couple times I thought I was about to summit only to find I still had another 100 yards to go. A big sigh of exasperation followed, it's hard to see where the top is sometimes, but I pushed on til I got 7558.

It was all downhill after that and staggered back down the SE ridge of 7558 to finish out a very hard day in Bear Gulch! I just proved that going ridge direct to 7558 1st and then 8098 is the best way to get these. While that way is not easy, it sure is way better than the way I went today. Holy Smokes!

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Last edited by boudreaux on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ragin Cajun

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Re: Pt 8098 & Pt 7558: Battle of the Bear

Postby Jay521 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:28 pm

You are fast becoming the Gerry Roach of Waterton Canyon!

Nice one, Beau. I imagine you have a few cuts and bruises as trophies, eh?
I take the mountain climber's approach to housekeeping - don't look down

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Re: Pt 8098 & Pt 7558: Battle of the Bear

Postby boudreaux » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:36 pm

Jay, even with heavy work gloves on, I still manged to get a needle under a fingernail, go figure! Hands and wrists are well scarred today, but a nice reflective smile on my face! Another pair of old jeans got trashed, but that's what they're for!
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Re: Pt 8098 & Pt 7558: Battle of the Bear

Postby ChrisRoberts » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:47 pm

Looks like a fun bout of bushwhacking!
Some rise, some fall, some climb to get to terrapin
Read all about my schemes and adventuring at NoCo Chris Latest TR: DeCaLibron

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Re: Pt 8098 & Pt 7558: Battle of the Bear

Postby sunny1 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:38 pm

It's good to see some beta on Waterton Canyon summits, thanks for the post. Nice pics and summary!

Wogged past the dam up there a few weeks ago (Wog = walk/jog/waddle :oops: ).
Hadn't been up there in some time, it was a treat.
Made mental note of some of the peaks there - the tree/scrub growth is dense!
The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.

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Re: Pt 8098 & Pt 7558: Battle of the Bear

Postby boudreaux » Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:38 am

Sunny1, 8098 is the best of the Waterton peaks, it has an LCW feel and there are multiple opportunities on the summit ridge to play around on the rocks. This is not the last time I will go up there! The only peak that might be a better climb is Turkshead, which has that craggy face you see from the dam! I have yet to do that one, but it's begging me!

Chris, it was legendary, but once was enough!
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