Iceberg Peak and a Random 12er

Beartooths Montana       June 2-3, 2014

This was the kind of trip that when I ask people if they are interested they just laugh
and say “I’d love to hear how it goes.”  But not Matt Shortland, he was more concerned
with scheduling it to fit in with his other ski days and a good weather window.  The forecast
called for a clear day and then mixed weather, so we decided on two big days. 
Iceberg Peak, Mount Villard, Granite Peak, The Spires.  Our first glimpse at the goods.
Clear morning to set out.  We figured we had all day to get out and set up camp.  If we
had energy or time left after, skiing would be in order.
Dan happy to be out of the forest.    Photo:  Matt Shortland
I should note that we saw an otter around 9,000ft elevation in Broadwater River,
possibly the highlight of the entire trip for Matt.  I thought it was neat too.
Camp set, a little weather moving through.
We decided to set up camp at Upper Aero Lake.  The weather was way to nice to sit around,
so we set out for an evening ski on Mount Villard.  From camp it didn’t look that far away.
Matt setting the skintrack.  Think we can skin the whole way up?
Matt making his way up to the saddle between Mount Villard and Iceberg Peak.
It seemed we may have to bootpack up high but we pushed through and were able
to skin to the top of Iceberg Peak.  At the time we thought it was Villard but Matt
pulled out a map and confirmed it wasn’t.  We thought about going over to Villard’s true
summit but decided against it.  Iceberg Peak as I know it is an unofficial name for a peak
connected to Mount Villard and is almost as tall (hence the confusion).  I really thought
it would be cool to ski off Mount Villard.  It is one of those peaks that you here whispers
of cool lines being skied on.  
Camp is on the far side of the lake near a rock island.
On top we enjoyed the view and some homemade cookies.  Said cookies helped
fuel/motivate the entire trip.  The skiing was top notch corn as we caught the
evening refreeze perfectly.  If we didn’t ski anything else this trip it would still
be a success.
Headed back to camp.
Day 2
Some sweet natural features.  Matt motivating from afar was a common theme.
Our plan was to do a tour around some of Granite Peak, maybe ski a line on it.
Matt found cell service.
A different side of Mount Villard on the left and Matt off in the distance.
We toured around Granite Peak, checking out some of the lines it has to offer on the South
side area.  We could not agree on a line to ski on it.  Also the weather was unsettled and
afternoon showers were forecast.  So we headed back towards the way we came and
decided to ski a smooth face that would lend itself well to retreat back to camp if weather
came in.  (Face on lookers right peak in above pic.)
Villard, Iceberg, some rad peak past the saddle, and Glacier Peaks magnificent North Face.
A little squall rolled through as we booted up the face, which kept us cool.  Matt laughed a
little bit when we got near the top.  It had taken us so little time to get up the face.  We
totally could have skied a line off Granite today.  The combination of scale and weather
got to us.  Oh well, our consolation line was mighty fine.  Awesome views, smoothest
snow around, and over 2,000 vert.
Dan skiing with Granite Peak in the background.     Photo:  Matt Shortland
Fun in the sun did not last long.  As we skied down valley to the one saddle we had to cross
the weather came in.  Snow, wind, and thunder put the hustle in our step.  Since there was
no shelter we headed up the saddle as fast as we could. All the while gusts of wind blew us
around and thunder echoed off the surrounding rock walls.  
The storm blowing away as we crossed the lake to camp.
The storm proceeded to pass us as we reached the saddle.  We had a large blue hole in
front of us now.  Our goal was to get to camp, tear down, pack up, and try to make it
into the forest before the next storm hit.
Neat creek melt out to skin next to.
Matt looking for the last of the cookies?
We made into the forest before the storm came in, barely.  Rained most of the way out.
Got soaked and a little lost.  At that point of the day it didn’t really matter.

3 Responses to “Iceberg Peak and a Random 12er”

Leave a Reply