Saturday, June 4, 2011
Elephanthead is the strange looking knob in the center
The weather has finally broke here in Bozeman and the spring monsoon has left us with wet rock and piles of snow in the hills. Skiing is in order. Elephanthead mountain is a strange peak located in the Absaroka Mountains just east of Livingston, MT. The peak is a classic ski descent and the five mile and 3,000' elevation gain would be a great conditioner. Olin and I left Bozeman with an alpine start of 9:00am and reached the trailhead soon after. We hiked a few miles on a muddy trail, crossed a few streams heavy with runoff, then reached snowline and skinned the remaining distance to the summit. The weather reports for the day stated that thunderstorms and gusty winds were to be expected. When we reached the summit of the small peak all was calm, then suddenly it was like a light switch was flicked on. I have never been in wind that strong before. I have never had to lay on my side, holding on to a whippet, while putting on my skis. We hastly contoured to the lee ward side of the peak on our skis, getting blasted by the hurricane force winds. We skied 1,200' of open face before reaching the safety of the trees. The experience was more than expected and the descent was a classic Montana ass whooping. good times.
View from the summit moments before the wind storm
The ridge top winds hitting the Crazy Mountains to the north