question re: Bradley Lake (Great Bear); also Scapegoat Mtn

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question re: Bradley Lake (Great Bear); also Scapegoat Mtn

Postby Langdon Greene » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:00 pm

Has anyone been up lately (say, past 4 or 5 years) in the area between Horseshoe Peak and Bradley Lake, in the Great Bear Wilderness?

Older USGS topos show that Bradley Lake trail continuing all the way up the basin and over next to Horseshoe, connecting to the trails at the saddle separating Cy Creek and Head Creek (near Twin Mountain). Sounds to me like the USFS is only maintaining the Bradley Creek trail up to the lake. I was wondering how much of a mess it is to attempt to follow the discontinued portion from that junction of #200 and #332 at the saddle at 6219'. (My wife is not too fond of off-trail bushwhacking, and I need to know if I am risking her wrath taking her over & down to Bradley...)

I was hoping some of you Bob Marshall aficionados might know the area..... Ear Mountain? or Dave Chenault? or any of you BPL guys who do the BM Open?

Also, a 2nd, and unrelated question for a different part of the complex, down by Scapegoat Mountain. Is the traverse across the top of Scapegoat relatively straightforward from trails at the southeast end (either #217 or #234) all the way WNW to Flint Mtn? Or Triple Divide? Observation Point? (or.... to Observation Pass?) I was wondering if I can get up there via a big loop, make the traverse reasonably safely (read: without resulting in a divorce from a scree-hating wife) and back to trails where my marriage might recover.

Thanks for any input. These might not be a good idea for us, but who knows.
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Re: question re: Bradley Lake (Great Bear); also Scapegoat M

Postby Ear Mountain » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:40 am

I'm not familiar with Bradley Lake trail. Most of my Bob experiences are in the Rocky Mountain Ranger District as those areas are closer to my home. It does appear that trail maintenance ends at Bradley Lake however. I checked the more recent USFS map and the map in my Avenza Maps app. On those maps the trail ends at Bradley Lake and no trail is shown beyond the lake. Older 7 1/2 minute quadrangle topographic maps have many errors in trails. Trails are shown that no longer exist or trails are shown where they used to be before they were relocated. The USFS lost many trails in the floods of 1964 and 1975 and in more recent years. There was a concerted effort to relocate those trails that followed stream bottoms to areas higher up on the slopes. Trails that do not appear on the more recent USFS maps, for the most part, are either extremely difficult to follow or no longer exist. One or two may have never existed except in the imagination of the person drawing them on the map. The Bradley Lake trail is shown as "Unknown" (yellow) on the USFS interactive map (see below). That means it was most likely not cleared in 2018. There is also the possibility that it was not cleared in the previous year as well.

In my opinion the best maps of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex are produced by Cairn Cartographics. Their topographic maps are plastic coated, show shaded relief, have mileages indicated between most junctions and differentiate between regularly maintained trails and those trails where maintenance is less frequent. They can be ordered here:
https://cairncarto.com/maps/

Trail conditions in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex are provided on this USFS site:
https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=ceae3643b33c455483cf922668930663

After clicking the link give the map time to load. It's a complex map and depending on your internet connection it might take some time. You'll know you're almost there when you get the popup window to agree to the terms of use.

Turn on the legend if it does not appear by clicking on the three lines in the upper left corner. Zoom in to the area you are interested in and click on the trail. Or do a search for the trail number or name. Be advised that the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex extends across two (formerly three) different National Forests. Because of that trail numbers might be duplicated in two or more ranger districts. When doing a search for a trail number you might see a listing in two or more trails with the same number. Click on each one at a time to and the one you are interested in.

A green trail has been cleared while a yellow trail (shown as Unknown in the legend) generally means it has not been the cleared. All trails should be shown "Unknown" at the beginning of a season but this is often not the case. But if the trail is shown cleared it probably was cleared in the current year (if late in the season) or in the previous year (if early in the season. The trail may not have required clearing either in which case it will be shown as "cleared." It takes time for clearing info to reach the mapping person so there is a time lag between actual clearing of the trail and the trail being shown as cleared on the map. The date of clearing usually is provided with other details when you click on a trail. One thing to watch for is that there may be more than one info panel for a trail. Look for the black triangle and click it to move to another info panel. A yellow trail may be infrequently maintained and may not have been cleared in several years. Trails through previous burns are often nightmares of deadfall.

Hope this helps,
Ralph
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Re: question re: Bradley Lake (Great Bear); also Scapegoat M

Postby Ear Mountain » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:02 am

Langdon Greene wrote:...Is the traverse across the top of Scapegoat relatively straightforward from trails at the southeast end (either #217 or #234) all the way WNW to Flint Mtn? Or Triple Divide? Observation Point? (or.... to Observation Pass?) I was wondering if I can get up there via a big loop, make the traverse reasonably safely (read: without resulting in a divorce from a scree-hating wife) and back to trails where my marriage might recover.


While I've climbed Scapegoat I can't comment on the approach from either Trail 217 or 234 since I've not gone that way. I haven't climbed Flint so can't comment on the rest of your route. But I can point out that scree and talus in the Bob is very different from that in Glacier. The hard limestones and dolomites of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex produce talus and scree that is sharp and angular. Without knowing the experience and abilities of your wife I'd only offer that the route you propose would include plenty of sharp and angular scree and talus.
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Re: question re: Bradley Lake (Great Bear); also Scapegoat M

Postby Langdon Greene » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:15 am

Thanks Ralph - that is quite helpful.

In both instances, I think there are enough other alternatives that I should abandon any ideas of getting too fancy, and stick to something a bit more 'reliable' (in terms of trails, especially maintained ones).
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Re: question re: Bradley Lake (Great Bear); also Scapegoat M

Postby Langdon Greene » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:44 pm

Although....

I just came upon a CalTopo map named 'Trail Conditions' with Bob Marshall trail segments, with date of latest trail maintenance / clearing on it. [link below] It has the Bradley Lake trail continuing beyond the lake, up the basin and over the divide as per old USGS quads. Although it could be due to hasty over-generalization of reports in the drawing of lines. Someone being presumptive, or sloppy.

It would be nice if that were actually the case, but I won't bet a route-plan on it. I'll wait until June or July at the earliest, and give a call to the Hungry Horse rangers to ask directly.

I can't tell who the user is who made that map; interesting that it is HH10 (for 'HungryHorse'?) https://caltopo.com/m/HH10

I will also ask the Cairn Cartographics people about the last time they had boots on the ground out there. I already have (and love!) their Selway-Bitterroots map, nice to hear a word of recommendation from you re: their Bob map set. You're right, I should get that one too.
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Re: question re: Bradley Lake (Great Bear); also Scapegoat M

Postby Ear Mountain » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:35 am

I found lots of trails on that CalTopo map that do not actually exist. I know this for a fact for several areas on the east side. Can't comment on west side trails.
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