Powell County High Point Trip Report

Mt Powell

Date: August 1998
Author: Benjamin Earl Wood

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Would there be enough time to complete the trip in daylight? We did not want to be stranded in a strange place after dark.

We drove up Dempsey Creek. We drove past Bone Lake and proceeded to a washout near a place called "Stoneyville." There, we found a single parking spot to stash the truck. We threw on our day packs and began the hike around three in the afternoon.

A prominent ridge became evident after about a mile of cross country through thin timber. We decided to ascend to the top of the ridge. Once on top, we were able to see the lakes (Upper Elliot, Lower Elliot, Goat) of the Dempsey Basin. The summit nub of Mt Powell was still obscured by a looming hill. The hike continued.

The ridge ascended past the tree line but the knob was still blocking our view of the summit. It looked almost as if we were climbing the wrong peak. Powell seemed like it was worlds away. We hiked around the knob and, lo and behold, the top of Powell was staring right down at us. I swore I could touch it. It looked a lot bigger than it had from the valley. I had seen Powell from the floor of the Deer Lodge Valley a million times and now I was about to stand on top of it!

Forty-five minutes later we were sitting on top. It took us two and a half hours to reach the summit after leaving the truck. We had cheated the peak by parking at such a high elevation. The view was absolutely gorgeous. We could see the Swan Mountains, the Garnet Range, and the Scapegoats to the north. The Butte Highlands and the Pintlars loomed to the South.

We stayed at the summit for about an hour, signed the register and marveled at the simplicity of life in the mountains. It is a great thing to be able to leave the hustle and bustle of civilization and retreat to the Utopia that exists in the wilderness. I might literally go crazy without the mountains!

The trip back to the truck was much faster than the climb up. We arrived at about eight p.m. There was still about an hour of daylight left. We refilled our water bottles and began the victorious drive home.