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The Billboard, Wilson Peak, Madison Range, Montana

Wilson Peak

May 1, 2013

Destination: Wilson Peak, Spanish Peaks, MT
Elevation Gain/Loss: +/- 3750 ft.
Distance: 8.4 miles
Time: 6 hours
USGS Quads: Gallatin Peak

Wilson Peak

Wilson Peak

Wilson is the classic mountain seen from Big Sky, Montana. It towers over the surrounding peaks at 10705 feet – a rocky summit sits above a billboard of an open ski field making for an impressive place to leave tracks. That’s why I call it the Billboard.

After a slightly snowy night in Big Sky, we hit the North Fork Trail at 630am. We went as far as we could on the road and parked near some extremely nice homes.

End of the road at 6am

End of the road at 6am

We followed the road to the North Fork Trailhead and then skinned along the well maintained track. After about an hour, we turned northwest for an adventurous bushwack that lead us into a steep drainage with solid snow bridges, for the most part.

A frozen waterfall

A frozen waterfall

Creek hopping

Creek hopping

The weather was cloudy all morning, keeping the snow light and dry, but it left our objective 2500 vertical feet above us in the clouds.

A cloudy destination

A cloudy destination

We gained the ridge and took in the views. There are cool lines everywhere.

Scoping Lines in the Spanish Peaks

Scoping Lines in the Spanish Peaks

Here’s the summit of Wilson at 10705 ft. We opted to ski from the ridge because the sunny skies were quickly making our cold snow too warm.

Wilson Summit - 10705

Wilson Summit – 10705

Definitely want to come back and ski this steep couloir off the north face of Wilson heading into Hell Roaring Basin.

North Facing Couloir on Wilson

North Facing Couloir on Wilson

We enjoyed the scenery of Fan, Lone Peak, Pioneer Ridge, and Sphinx.

Big Sky

The SE face of Gallatin was amazing too. It’s summit shrouded in clouds.

Gallatin Peak in the Clouds - SE

Gallatin Peak in the Clouds – SE

The view of the Spanish Peaks was incredible too. So many lines to choose from.

The Spanish Peaks

The Spanish Peaks

A zoomed in look at Beehive Peak and the couloirs and faces of Bear Basin.

Beehive In the distance

Beehive In the distance

So Many Lines

So Many Lines

Just another shot of our home ski area – Lone Mountain.

Big Sky

Big Sky

Then we skied. The conditions were perfect. Wide open face, blower snow, incredible scenery.┬áThe trace of snow we got in the Meadow was at least 15cm at the ridge and it was sitting on top of a thick bridgeable crust – the result is soft, fun, safe, skiing and riding.

Light and fluffy

Light and fluffy

Skiing

Skiing

The tracks.

Our Tracks

Our Tracks

After the open face, we skied perfectly spaced trees with soft snow for another 1500 feet. Then the bushwack started again. We got a bit disoriented and decided to follow these tracks. Pretty sure they are bear prints…

Bear?

Bear?

Back through the frozen waterfall.

Riding out

Riding out

Finally to the car after a 6 hour day.

Day done

Day done

Wilson Peak as seen from Big Sky Resort. You can see our tracks on the looker’s left of the image if you look very closely.

Wilson Peak

Wilson Peak

Another great day and a mountain that I will definitely ski again.