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Backpacker Magazine – July/August 2013

Hidden Montana: Sawtooth Range

by: Steve Howe

Photo by Doug Roane
Photo by Doug Roane

Rocky Mountain and old baldy
The secret Discover a wide-open view over the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness from this solitary summit.

Hiding in the shadow of Glacier National Park but no less spectacular, the Sawtooths form a chainsaw crest of peaks fronted by flat-iron plates. The best peak-bag in the range is 9,392-foot Rocky Mountain, the highest point in the Bob. Scale it, plus another Sawtooth peak, on a two-night basecamp near Our Lake. Hike a half-mile on Trail 165 to Trail 184, then gain 800 feet in 1.1 mile to a small boulder field. Reach Our Lake, a treeline tarn wrapped on three sides by rocky ridges, in another .9 mile. Camp in the timberlands near treeline (Our Lake itself is closed to camping) and catch the morning sun. Next day, get an early start and aim for the saddle due west of the lake. Now choose from two easy-to-follow ridgelines: Head north 1.3 miles to 9,156-foot Old Baldy, or south 2.1 miles to Rocky Mountain. While climbing, keep an eye out for the fossils of seashells, corals, and tubeworms—indicating these limestone strata were once the floor of shallow Cretaceous-era seas, 70 to 100 million years ago.Trailhead 32 miles west of Choteau; 47.848821, -112.782555 Map USGS quad Our Lake, MT ($8) Contact Lewis and Clark NF; (406) 466-5341;

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