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Ascent of Mount Cleveland on 2019-07-30

Climber: Dustin Erickson

Date:Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Cleveland
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:10466 ft / 3190 m

Ascent Trip Report

Backpacked up from Mokownis junction (walk in permits) to Stony indian pass, my GF graciously took both packs down and set up camp and even had dinner waiting on the return. She and I were both pretty fatigued from the backpack, and climbing Pyramid and Merritt in the preceding days, but the weather was great and I went for the long goat tral route via stony indian without incident until reaching the windy summit plateau, when 200 vert from the top I saw a massive head rise followed by 2 smaller backs. They were on the very summit and went over the far side. I was pretty nervous and thought I would just turn around there, but after 15 minutes of evaluating topos and thinking it through I realized that I would have seen them come down any of the good routes, so they were either just over the summit or down the snowslope on the NE side. I went to a point near the east edge and sure enough saw momma and the 2 cubs wrestling in the snow on this improbable slope. I quickly reached the summit and took in the views of Waterton lake and its tour boats (banned from landing this year....I.C.E. related?). The mom finally saw me and they proceeded to glissade down the slope and onto whatever rediculous route the bears use to get down to Whitecrow Glacier. My bear spray wuld have done little in this wind, but it was another magical grizzly encounter regardless. Descent was quick with scree surfing when possible and I had an excilerating trail run on the goat trail. I should have just descended from the Stony Indian notch directly to the lake, but I retraced my known route to the saddle instead, this is the most tedious section and I would really suggest just finding your way directly down to Stony Indian Lake if you are camped there.
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