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 Post subject: Back to Back – Gravelly Range & Centennial Range, Montana
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:05 am 
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Location: Bozeman, Montana
Back to Back Days – Gravelly Range & Centennial Range, Montana

Of the many snow kite spots that I have visited in the last dozen years, I got to return to two of my favorites during back to back days last week. Both spots offer superb mountain terrain, a clean fetch, abundant snow and immense solitude.

The first involves a 21 mile snowmobile ride to the top of the south end of the Gravelly Range. Once there, Cale Benson, Julian Holland and I immediately proceeded to the flanks of the 10,275 foot tall Big Horn Mountain. That day the winds were the opposite of the normal prevailing direction. Having a light northerly provide perfect gliding and riding along Big Horn’s long wind lip and hillsides. It was my kite partners’ first trip to this spot and both were blown away at the vastness of the Gravellys.

After a session on Big Horn we toured on our sleds to nearby Monument Ridge for a view of the Snowcrests to the west. From there we headed south, past Black Butte, to the headwaters of the Elk River. There we pulled off a short session with our big kites before we boondocked our way back to the trailhead. Unfortunately for Cale, it was to be his last ride on that sled for a while. Five miles from the truck, his engine seized. Julian gave him a tow back to the trailer. Backcountry kiting is a team sport. Having an able partner is essential.

The next day it was Julian and my day to hit up the Centennials, specifically the 9,688 foot high Sheep Mountain. I’ve made my way to Sheep a few times before and every time is different. This day again had a northerly wind that funneled around the mountain giving us a north fetch in some areas and a west wind in other spots. Lacking was the classic southerly that makes Sheep such an amazing kite spot. Oh well. We made the best of the day and rode hard and long. It is a fantastic kite spot and one that always amazes me by its long distance views. Even if one is not boosting high and hitting the many terrain features, Sheep Mountain is a joy to kite.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy the photos, and see ya out there,

Noah Poritz


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Big Horn Mtn 1.jpg
Big Horn Mtn 1.jpg [ 3.06 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Cale's sled died a few miles later.jpg
Cale's sled died a few miles later.jpg [ 3.64 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Black Butte.jpg
Black Butte.jpg [ 4.31 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Snowcrest Range in the distance.jpg
Snowcrest Range in the distance.jpg [ 4.98 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Good spot to go kiting.jpg
Good spot to go kiting.jpg [ 3.84 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Cale gliding on Big Horn Mtn.jpg
Cale gliding on Big Horn Mtn.jpg [ 3.95 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Cale with Monument Ridge in background.jpg
Cale with Monument Ridge in background.jpg [ 3.94 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Do you like this photo.jpg
Do you like this photo.jpg [ 4.62 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Julian on Big Horn Mtn.jpg
Julian on Big Horn Mtn.jpg [ 3.71 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Light wind climbing.jpg
Light wind climbing.jpg [ 4.63 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Noah finding powder.jpg
Noah finding powder.jpg [ 4.06 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Wind lip on Big Horn Mtn.jpg
Wind lip on Big Horn Mtn.jpg [ 4.38 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Sheep Mtn 5.jpg
Sheep Mtn 5.jpg [ 3.63 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Taylor Mtn & Mt Jefferson.jpg
Taylor Mtn & Mt Jefferson.jpg [ 3.73 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Julian with Snake River Plain below.jpg
Julian with Snake River Plain below.jpg [ 2.65 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
View from up on Sheep Mtn.jpg
View from up on Sheep Mtn.jpg [ 3.55 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Happy kiter.jpg
Happy kiter.jpg [ 4.22 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Super favorite kite spot.jpg
Super favorite kite spot.jpg [ 3.95 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Easy boosting.jpg
Easy boosting.jpg [ 2.79 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Kiting with snow ghosts.jpg
Kiting with snow ghosts.jpg [ 3.97 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Julian with Sheep Mtn behind.jpg
Julian with Sheep Mtn behind.jpg [ 4.04 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Riding the wind lip.jpg
Riding the wind lip.jpg [ 4 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
Boosting over the canyon.jpg
Boosting over the canyon.jpg [ 4.99 MIB | Viewed 796 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Back to Back – Gravelly Range & Centennial Range, Monta
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 186
Location: Ridgway
Noah, thanks for yet another inspiring trip report! Any danger is finally dropping down here, so now I have no excuse to get out there-
Cheers,
MH


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 Post subject: Re: Back to Back – Gravelly Range & Centennial Range, Monta
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:36 am 
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2004 6:14 am
Posts: 521
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Matt: Any sick pics? Colorado kite spots are always so impressive in the in Spring.


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 Post subject: Re: Back to Back – Gravelly Range & Centennial Range, Monta
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 186
Location: Ridgway
Noah, I haven't had a chance to get many good pics of the spots lately (but I've got a litany of excuses). Here's a shot at Lizard Head during last week's "brownout". We just got nailed with a bad dust storm layer late yesterday. It's gonna kill the spring snow conditions if we don't get some white on top of it soon. Keep your fingers crossed for a producing storm tomorrow night!

I'll try to get a few good shots from the next outing-
Cheers, MH
Attachment:
IMG_20140326_154110_555[1].jpg
IMG_20140326_154110_555[1].jpg [ 1.16 MIB | Viewed 554 times ]


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