Lou, Leon, and I set out after breakfast at IHOP to find some suitable traditional climbing up near Butte. We got off at the Homestake Pass exit and found a dirt road that looked like it had promise to take us to good crags. We found the dilapidated railroad tracks and a fresh drainage that took us down to them, parked the car, geared up, and set out to follow the railroad tracks to something great. Lou walked far ahead of Leon and me, and we sometimes walked alongside the tracks, sometimes in the middle, and at other times on the opposite side of the tracks depending on what obstacle might be in the way. I brushed against the aspen leaves and a cloud of wonderful-smelling pine pollen was released upon me when Leon brushed past a pine tree with new growth all over it. I found wild strawberry plants growing along the tracks and took in the smell of the honeysuckle blooms, which were a beautiful sight to see as well. Rushing water could be heard now and then from the stream that ran in the gorge between us and the Interstate. On the opposite side of the tracks was a small pond at one point. Leon paced off how far we hiked and a couple of hours passed before Lou began walking back toward us. We had hiked at least a couple of miles down the train track. There were a few poorly bolted routes along the dark granite crags next to the tracks, but not many, and none that we wanted to climb.
As we made our way back, Leon paced off our journey while Lou and I talked about how I need to climb a lot more. “I think you have the mind for it. You definitely have the mind for it,” Lou said, which was an honor in itself, because climbing is as physical as it is mental. “Just don’t overthink it. Do it. Do it a lot. Volume is the key.” We talked about many things on our hike back along the railroad tracks, then reached the car and followed the road on to Lake Delmoe. We looked at the lake and then went on to the bouldering area where they have the Butte Bouldering Bash every year in mid-October when there’s often snow on the ground and the high temperature might be two degrees above freezing if you are extremely lucky! There, we bouldered until it began to thunder and rain on us. We stopped at a small sports bar in the basement of the Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks on the way back, where I introduced Lou and Leon to Moosetracks ice cream.
Today, with my knee on the mend, I managed two bouldering problems – a V1 and a V0+, which was very satisfying, indeed! It was fun bouldering outdoors again!