Cascade County Highpoint Trip Report

Long Mountain (8,621 feet)

Date: July 5, 2008
Author: Adam Helman

This effort is part of a larger journey collecting Montana and Idaho county highpoints in July 2008.

I report here on the combination of Long Mountain, of Cascade County; and Big Baldy of Judith Basin County since they are effectively combined as a pair of ascents from the same Forest Service road.

This road is the same one used by Andy Martin and John Hamann as described in their report. Unfortunately the road does not appear on the USGS 24,000:1 scale quadrangle.

Turn left (north) at a major Forest Road junction 3.5 road miles from Route 93 after passing numerous campsites. This (new) road winds up and around south-facing slopes for access to both county highpoints.

For Long Mountain I parked 11.1 road miles from Route 93 at WGS84 (46.94930° N, 110.65081° W) with an elevation of 7,279 feet in the truck cab.

Start by walking back (northeast) on the road 0.1 mile and turn left (west) onto an abandoned logging road. Proceed until it peters out, and then bushwhack, later steeply, northwest to the main east-west summit ridge. During this cross-country travel do not head for the obvious subpeak at the ridge's easternmost end. Rather, aim for the saddle to its west. Then head along the ridge roughly one mile west to the Long Mountain summit, passing a false summit roughly halfway there.

I encounter snow along the main ridge; and actually enjoy walking over it owing to perfect snow conditions for accepting boot - hard and crunchy yet soft enough to obviate crampons.

I return the route of ascent, the round-trip consuming 3 hours 40 minutes.

For Judith Basin County I drive back (east) 3.0 miles to my Big Baldy trailhead as the same road bend pullout used by Andy Martin and John Hamann: 8.1 road miles from Route 93 at WGS84 (46.95580° N, 110.63064° W) with an elevation of 7,381 feet in the truck cab.

Climb steeply 110° true heading 700 or 800 vertical feet to the obvious ATV track. It is blocked by a seven foot snow drift - explaining the reason for a much fainter track which goes over a hill to avoid this feature.

Take the ATV track, veering right at the obvious trail junction to continue uphill. There is a false summit before getting to the real one.

It is very windy and uncomfortably cold for the final push. I spend time on the leeward side of a white summit shack, eating a granola bar instead of my planned lunch since clouds are not the friendly type.

On the descent I have an unsavory meeting with several ATV enthusiasts as I stop for lunch just before the bushwhack into the forest. I detest their summary noisemaking and apparent devil-may-care attitude towards Nature.

The round-trip for Big Baldy consumes 3 hours 40 minutes.

It does not make sense to combine the two highpoints into a single climb since the implied horizontal round-trip distance along the summit ridge greatly exceeds the level of effort in simply driving to a second trailhead.