Steve ascending the upper snowfield, Garns in view.
Garns Mountain, in the Big Hole Mountains, was Steve's suggestion for a peak near his place in Driggs Idaho. The plan was to ascend via South Horseshoe. This particular trail will take you right to the summit of Garns Mountain and out the opposite side of the Big Hole range should you chose to arrange a shuttle and through hike. Our plan was just out, up, and back. Usually in July you can get into most back country areas in the Teton Range, but this past winter and spring the range has been hammered again and again with snowfall. It will be well into August until some areas are easily accessible.The Tetons from the summit of Garns
But today (7/9/2011) was a beautiful day in the Big Holes, and except for some snow patches, was passable, albeit rather wet and boggy in places. Correspondingly, every shady spot along the way was ripe with mosquitoes, so it kept us moving at a steady pace.
Looking over at the Tetons on the ascent.
We were passed by a number of dirt bikers and a couple mountain bikers on our ascent. At one point we chatted with a few taking a break. "I see you're doing this the old-fashioned way," one commented. "Where's your bike"? We laughed and admitted our old school method was by choice. We picked up some beta and moved on. They soon passed us, but snow turned them around not long after. Of course, our "old-fashioned way" laughs at snow. When we reached the summit, we overheard a cyclist that had come up from the opposite side comment that "I've been coming up here each year for 40 years and I've never seen snow up here this late."
We took a break, had a snack, and watched chipmunks beg from us while one even went so far as to taste Steve's pack strap until we shooed it off.
We were really tired when we reached the car, and no wonder...15 miles round trip for 2500 vertical. Still a wonderful outing! More information about Garns Mountain can be found at SummitPost.