The Mission Mountains

The Mission Mountains are perhaps the most amazing mountains that I have ever seen. They seem to magically appear from the valley floor, and I often find myself thinking that they are simply a collage of cardboard cutouts that someone has pasted against the eastern horizon.

The few trails within the Missions are very steep, poorly maintained and hard to find. Yet, if you can find any semblance of a trailhead and can get past some major league bushwhacking, the hikes in the Missions are well worth it.

A few hikes that I would highly recommend are: Moon, Long and Frog Lakes to Summit Lake and then to Mollman Lakes; Mount Harding; Ashley Lakes; McDonald Peak; Kakashe; Lucifer Lake; Upper and Lower Riddell Lakes; Lost Sheep Lake to Buck Lake to Whelp Lake and finally to Gray Wolf Lake.

Here are a few photos from some of my trips:

Mt Harding (9,061 feet)

Kakashe (8,575 feet), The Garden Wall and Snyelmn (9,125 feet)

Josh and Emily on the ridge to Kakashe with Snyelmn and the South Fork of Mission Creek in the background

Josh and Emily on the ridge to Kakashe with Snyelmn and the South Fork of Mission Creek in the background

East (9,425 feet) and West (9,372 feet) St. Mary’s Peaks

The view en route to East St Mary's Peak

The view en route to East St Mary’s Peak

The peaks in the distance.

The peaks in the distance.

Almost there.

Almost there.

On top of East St Mary's (9,425 feet) with West St Mary's in the background.

On top of East St Mary’s (9,425 feet) with West St Mary’s in the background.

Grey Wolf Peak (9,001 feet)

Beargrass and Grey Wolf

Dry Creek Falls near Grey Wolf

Dry Creek Falls near Grey Wolf

Above Riddell Lakes

Above Riddell Lakes

Upper Riddell Lake (7,278 feet) with Grey Wolf in the background

Upper Riddell Lake (7,278 feet) with Grey Wolf in the background

St. Ignatius as seen from the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge

The Missions as seen from near Dixon, MT

Lucifer Lake (~6,254 feet)

Lucifer Lake (~6,254 feet)

Mission Dam with The Garden Wall, Elizabeth Falls and Snyelmn

Emily and I with the falls in the background

Emily and I with the falls in the background

Nathan, Todd, Cort and I en route to Summit Lake

Summit Lake (6,315 feet) with Mt. Harding

Getting ready to hike up and over Eagle Pass

Getting ready to hike up and over Eagle Pass

Kakashe, Garden Wall, Snyelmn and St Mary’s Peaks

Photos from the Ashley Lakes Fire of 2006:

Ashley Lakes in 2007 (after the fires):

Todd and I

More Ashley Lakes pictures:

Lady Slipper

Lady Slipper

Standing between upper and lower Ashley Lakes

Standing between upper and lower Ashley Lakes

Bears @Ashley Lakes

Bears @Ashley Lakes

COLD!

COLD!

Ashley Lakes seen from near the summit of the Sheep's Head

Ashley Lakes seen from near the summit of the Sheep’s Head

McDonald Peak (9,820 feet)

McDonald Lake

“The Cliff”, McDonald Lake:

kris-cliff3

Eric and I

kris-cliff

Kris

Yahtzee!

Here’s a video of the smaller cliff at McDonald Lake:

Barefoot and carefree at Mollmon Lakes (6,865 feet)

First (unsuccessful) attempt to climb McDonald Peak, 1996

Eric and I camped below McDonald Peak:

Eric

Kris

Grizzly bear tracks on McDonald Peak:

Grizzly bear tracks on July 11, 2002

Fortunately, he/she was there before us!

Sheep’s Head (West McDonald Peak, 9,417 feet)) after successfully climbing Kakashe, Flat Top and McDonald Peak with Eric.

More photos from another McDonald Peak trip can be seen here.

Josh amongst the glacier lilies en route to Mt. Harding (McDonald Peak in the background).

Mt. Harding with McDonald Peak in the background

Kakashe

Emily hiking to Flat Top with Kakashe in the background

Emily hiking to Flat Top with Kakashe in the background

Lost Sheep Lake (6,434 feet)

Eric and I, The North Fork of the Jocko River

Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep Lake

Here are some photos that my sister took while flying over the Mission Valley in March 2009:

Lucifer

Lucifer Lake with the Garden Wall

Mt. Harding

Mt. Harding

McDonald Peak

McDonald Peak

Finley Point

Flathead Lake and Finley Point


 
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