Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sheep to Mile ridge traverse

Andrew and Jeffrey had to return to responsibilities after our Hilgard day, and it is too bad, because the third day was perhaps the best.  Mile to Sheep is a high quality long mountain bike ride, and I did a heavily modified version on foot, leaving the trail at the toe of Coffin mountain and following the crest south to Mile creek. 
Looking South from Sheep.
With 50 miles over the last two days, I had some trepidation about how my body would hold up, but the whole rig felt remarkably good. I cruised up Sheep creek, spooking a few deer and marveling at the crisp frosty morning. It took less than three hours to summit Coffin via the north ridge.  I was treated to sweeping views of the southern Gallatins and Madisons from the summit, and the Tetons beckoned on the horizon.  I ran down the lid of the Coffin, chasing goats along the way, then pushed to the top of Sheep, the highest peak in the range.
Early morning views to Hebgen reservoir and the southern Gallatins from Coffin.
Jogging down the of Coffin peak.
Sheep lake from Sheep peak.  Skyline ridge in the background.

The spine of the range undulates gently all the way to Mile creek, and I worked through it, occasionally stubbing out to peaks off the crest but generally just moving in the moment and relishing the day.  The range receives heavy snowmobile traffic in winter, but in the summer it is a wild place. From the trail, I stubbed out to Targhee peak at the southern terminus of the range and took a long break, relaxing and gazing across the broad Henry's fork valley to the Tetons. The return run was fast and enjoyable.  I had dropped a bike off at the Mile creek trailhead, and a simple 10 mile downhill shuttle rounded out the day.  I was out for about 6 and a half hours, and the outing could go faster without summiting the peaks off the crest.  Highly recommended outing. It would also be fun to do a complete range traverse, continuing to Baldy and Lionshead, but the shuttle would be much longer.
Nearing the Mile creek trail.  I continued out to Targhee.  I skied Targhee peak several times in my Bozeman days, as it is moderate enough to ski with High avalanche hazard, and also has a few intriguing steep lines on the Northeast face.

Tired, happy, and ready for a shower after 3 days of mountain adventuring.

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