July 5th Skiing on Sacagawea

July 6th, 2009

Finding summer snow on the main trail up Sacagawea

We are a fanatical bunch, here in Bozeman. July is not ski season, by any stretch of the imagination. Yet when my girlfriend and I hiked up Sacagawea on July 5th to make some summer turns, there were probably more skiers up there than any day in the winter. Every last swatch of dirty, sun-pocked snow had tracks on it! I love this place. :)

Sacagawea and The Great One (the snowy chute to the left, on Naya Nuki)Little red alpine flowersUp the ridge from the saddle to Sacagawea

Last year I went a little crazy and skied every month of the year. I have neither the time nor the ambition to keep that up for a second year, but I could think of no better way to spend my July 5th than up in the mountains searching out a few sunny, slushy turns. Even in the summer, what is the fun in just hiking up a mountain if you can ski on the way down??

Little yellow alpine flowers

Our shady July 5th lineThe usual goal for summer turns in the Bridgers is The Great One - a keen little line off of Sacagawea’s neighbor Naya Nuki. Or goal was just to ski… whatever. Since my girlfriend had never done any summer skiing before and I’ve still never skied The Great One, I didn’t want to take any chances and end up with an Epic. So we ended up skiing a small line in the main bowl right by the trail. It was an easy hike up the trail to the top of the line, and it ended right back on the trail again.

The Southern Bridgers from the summit of Sacagawea

We dropped our gear at the top of the line to bag the summit of Sac quickly. That was short work (and full of people!), so I suggested we hike along the ridge a little to Naya Nuki. I wanted to get a look at The Great One, and thought we might see some goats if we ventured off of the beaten path. And so we did! There was a whole herd of goats chilling right at the top of The Great One. Some skiers were chilling there two, just a few feet away from the mountain goats. Pretty cool.

Mountain Goats and skiers atop The Great One on Naya Nuki

Bridger Range vista from Naya NukiBridger mountain goat on Naya Nuki PeakTop view of The Great One on Naya Nuki Peak

Rocky, thin July skiingAfter seeing how awesome and filled in The Great One was I regretted leaving our skis back at the other line. Our line was going to be easier hiking still, like we planned, but it was really thin and rocky. Nothing to be done about it now though, so we hiked back to the gear and skied it. And it was even thinner and rockier than I anticipated! It would have sucked, actually, except for the fact that skiing in July never sucks. :) Rain showers were moving in by the time we took our skis off so we headed for the car. Another great adventure in the mountains!

July skiing on Sacagawea!Little white alpine flowersThe bitter end...

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One Response to “July 5th Skiing on Sacagawea”

  1. Dude! That picture of the skier sitting near the goats is totally Clark Morgan or Kevin Foley! I swear they were up there that day and they told me about seeing the goats.

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