Pondera County High Point Trip Report

Date: July 26, 2002
Author: Bob Packard

Bought conservation permit in Dupuyer, MT (on US 89) for $10. Drove out the Swift Dam Road west to the dam and crossed Birch Creek below the dam thus crossing into the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Drove their poor dirt road around north side of reservoir and forded Haywood Creek.

Walked up the ATV trail from Haywood Creek and came to a T with Forest Trail 121 (unmarked). Turned right and headed west, coming to a forest service sign in about a mile. Trail parallels the beautiful North Fork Birch Creek. Great views of Family Peak, Mt. Richmond and fairly soon "Pondera Peak" between the two. Turned south into Blind Creek at small sign "Blind Toby Trail 171". Used tennis shoes to cross Birch Creek and left them at creek side. Left the poor Blind Creek Trail when it turned southeast and bushwhacked up the creek past avalanche devastation and got up into a lower then an upper basin southeast of "Pondera Peak". Went up easy slopes to a saddle at 8,260 feet. Did the southwest summit (8,402 feet) which may or may not touch Pondera County depending on what map you want to believe.

Then did the northeast summit (8460 feet), completely in Pondera County and its hp. Built cairn and left zip-lock bag, Nalgene bottle register. No sign that anyone had been there. This peak is very seldom climbed! On return went down a slightly different route and avoided the devastation area. Picked up my tennis shoes, forded the creek and hiked back to my camper.

"Pondera Peak" has a drop of exactly 1,000 feet to its saddle with Mt. Field (8,590 feet) to the southeast and the highest thing around except for Pondera HP itself. So Pondera has prominence of 1,000 feet, but Field has MUCH more.