Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
BCM
User Panel

Site Notices
Posted: 6/8/2021 12:53:52 PM EDT
Hey Everyone,

Planning to return to Montana in August to hike the Chinese Wall Loop.

Not a lot of information about the hike out there, and I wanted to see if anyone had done it before and what they recommended.

We are pretty experienced hikers; PCT style experience.  Plan on a bear can and bear spray for sure.

It looks like putting in and getting out at Benchmark is the best and most reliable option.

I found this site, which seems to be the best information out there:

Chinese Wall

We have about a week or so that we can do it in, which seems doable.

Any insights or personal experiences with this hike would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Link Posted: 6/8/2021 1:45:06 PM EDT
I've been there. I'm not familiar with the route you're taking, though. I didn't spend much time on the East side of the divide.

I was there doing trail work, so I cleared trail all the way to the top of the White River Pass, South of Haystack Mountain. Once up at the pass (and at the end of the work day), I climbed up Red Butte to the East for a good view. I pondered the sunset over the Chinese Wall while taking a big dump... Somehow I didn't get a picture of it (the Chinese Wall) and I can't remember why. Perhaps my battery was dead? Anyway, hiked the 7 miles or so back to camp after dark.

People always consider bears the biggest threat out there but they're wrong. Bears are a threat, and you should be prepared for them. But falling trees are the most dangerous thing out there. There are vast areas where forest fires ripped through in previous years and left all the trees dead. These trees will come down with the slightest breeze after 8-10 years or so. So some will randomly fall without any warning, but whats really dangerous is when a storm rolls through. Huge swaths of them will fall at once.

One day I was clearing a downed tree from the trail when another one fell and missed me by less than 6 inches. It didn't make a sound until it hit the ground. Another day I was clearing trail in another burned area when a really strong storm rolled in. Over the course of about 15 minutes the wind went from a slight breeze to heavy gusts. About the time the tree tops started whistling in the wind, I could see the gusts coming at me by the waves of trees falling. A crewmate and I were out there by ourselves, a mile or so from the rest of the crew. We dropped our tools and ran as fast as we could to the nearest clearing, watching the tree tops behind us to avoid them as they came down on us.

A buddy of mine continued working out there the following seasons. He was killed two years later due to a falling tree.

Don't be fooled, you stand a decent chance of storms in August. Make sure you don't setup camp near any dead trees. Do not try hiking through a burned area in a wind storm. Be aware, August is also fire season. It will be hot and very dry with afternoon lightning storms. A lot of the smaller creeks may be dry by that time as well. As an example, the White River (west of Cliff Mountain) is dangerous to cross in June, but by August it's a trickle.
Link Posted: 6/8/2021 2:59:36 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By t75fnaco3pwzhd:
I've been there. I'm not familiar with the route you're taking, though. I didn't spend much time on the East side of the divide.

I was there doing trail work, so I cleared trail all the way to the top of the White River Pass, South of Haystack Mountain. Once up at the pass (and at the end of the work day), I climbed up Red Butte to the East for a good view. I pondered the sunset over the Chinese Wall while taking a big dump... Somehow I didn't get a picture of it (the Chinese Wall) and I can't remember why. Perhaps my battery was dead? Anyway, hiked the 7 miles or so back to camp after dark.

People always consider bears the biggest threat out there but they're wrong. Bears are a threat, and you should be prepared for them. But falling trees are the most dangerous thing out there. There are vast areas where forest fires ripped through in previous years and left all the trees dead. These trees will come down with the slightest breeze after 8-10 years or so. So some will randomly fall without any warning, but whats really dangerous is when a storm rolls through. Huge swaths of them will fall at once.

One day I was clearing a downed tree from the trail when another one fell and missed me by less than 6 inches. It didn't make a sound until it hit the ground. Another day I was clearing trail in another burned area when a really strong storm rolled in. Over the course of about 15 minutes the wind went from a slight breeze to heavy gusts. About the time the tree tops started whistling in the wind, I could see the gusts coming at me by the waves of trees falling. A crewmate and I were out there by ourselves, a mile or so from the rest of the crew. We dropped our tools and ran as fast as we could to the nearest clearing, watching the tree tops behind us to avoid them as they came down on us.

A buddy of mine continued working out there the following seasons. He was killed two years later due to a falling tree.

Don't be fooled, you stand a decent chance of storms in August. Make sure you don't setup camp near any dead trees. Do not try hiking through a burned area in a wind storm. Be aware, August is also fire season. It will be hot and very dry with afternoon lightning storms. A lot of the smaller creeks may be dry by that time as well. As an example, the White River (west of Cliff Mountain) is dangerous to cross in June, but by August it's a trickle.
View Quote


Thank you for the reply!

I agree, I certainly assess the dangers to the trip as:

Fire
Weather
Critters
Scamde­mic (shutting things down)


Link Posted: 6/8/2021 3:24:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2021 11:56:53 AM EDT by t75fnaco3pwzhd]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By billpete:


Thank you for the reply!

I agree, I certainly assess the dangers to the trip as:

Fire
Weather
Critters
Scamdemic (shutting things down)


View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By billpete:
Originally Posted By t75fnaco3pwzhd:
I've been there. I'm not familiar with the route you're taking, though. I didn't spend much time on the East side of the divide.

I was there doing trail work, so I cleared trail all the way to the top of the White River Pass, South of Haystack Mountain. Once up at the pass (and at the end of the work day), I climbed up Red Butte to the East for a good view. I pondered the sunset over the Chinese Wall while taking a big dump... Somehow I didn't get a picture of it (the Chinese Wall) and I can't remember why. Perhaps my battery was dead? Anyway, hiked the 7 miles or so back to camp after dark.

People always consider bears the biggest threat out there but they're wrong. Bears are a threat, and you should be prepared for them. But falling trees are the most dangerous thing out there. There are vast areas where forest fires ripped through in previous years and left all the trees dead. These trees will come down with the slightest breeze after 8-10 years or so. So some will randomly fall without any warning, but whats really dangerous is when a storm rolls through. Huge swaths of them will fall at once.

One day I was clearing a downed tree from the trail when another one fell and missed me by less than 6 inches. It didn't make a sound until it hit the ground. Another day I was clearing trail in another burned area when a really strong storm rolled in. Over the course of about 15 minutes the wind went from a slight breeze to heavy gusts. About the time the tree tops started whistling in the wind, I could see the gusts coming at me by the waves of trees falling. A crewmate and I were out there by ourselves, a mile or so from the rest of the crew. We dropped our tools and ran as fast as we could to the nearest clearing, watching the tree tops behind us to avoid them as they came down on us.

A buddy of mine continued working out there the following seasons. He was killed two years later due to a falling tree.

Don't be fooled, you stand a decent chance of storms in August. Make sure you don't setup camp near any dead trees. Do not try hiking through a burned area in a wind storm. Be aware, August is also fire season. It will be hot and very dry with afternoon lightning storms. A lot of the smaller creeks may be dry by that time as well. As an example, the White River (west of Cliff Mountain) is dangerous to cross in June, but by August it's a trickle.


Thank you for the reply!

I agree, I certainly assess the dangers to the trip as:

Fire
Weather
Critters
Scamdemic (shutting things down)






Luckily, I think once you get to MT you'll forget that even exists.
Link Posted: 6/9/2021 10:23:13 AM EDT
The loop outlined in that article is good.

If you want some more distance, you can go up Rock Creek...camping is a bit sparse...I think it’s called My Lake up on top of Rock Creek... is about the last camping.  Rock Creek is the next drainage to the north of Moose...so it just extends the same loop; I would guess it would add 10 miles or so....maybe a little more...don’t have a map in front of me.

I usually go in with stock, so my campsite knowledge is skewed toward grazing and live timber...but I know the area a bit.
Link Posted: 6/9/2021 3:58:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2021 5:54:41 PM EDT by MtnMusic]
Benchmark is definitely the place to start.  The loop described on that webpage would be a fun way to see a lot of new scenery and not have to backtrack too much.

Another somewhat common way to access the wall is to float the South Fork and then hike up the White River.... but that's a lot of logistics and extra time, etc.

Any other approach will add many (dozens of) miles.  


Edited to add: if you happen to have 2 vehicles, you could start at Mortimer Gulch (Gibson Reservoir) and cut a few miles off the beginning of that loop.

Link Posted: 6/10/2021 4:31:12 PM EDT
I appreciate all the insights.  I am pretty excited about this hike!
Link Posted: 6/12/2021 11:28:46 PM EDT
Benchmark is the shortest cave mountain is the best.
Link Posted: 7/2/2021 3:56:04 PM EDT
Some of the trails can get hammered by packers in that area.
Link Posted: 7/5/2021 8:25:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/6/2021 7:50:56 AM EDT
We've been thinking hard about this trip, and with fire conditions looking the way that they are, will try to get get into the Bob at another time.  Too hard to predict what it will look like this time next month, and with limited time on our hands, we want to make the most of it.

I am bummed that we will not see it this year, but I will be in Montana in September for a class, so all is not lost...

Thank you for all the feedback and advice.
Link Posted: 7/6/2021 7:59:39 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/6/2021 12:28:59 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By elcope:
Another NV class?
View Quote


Yep, back in Great Falls.  Pretty excited for it.
Link Posted: 7/6/2021 12:30:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/14/2021 7:04:16 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By elcope:
Originally Posted By TheGreatCornholio:
Some of the trails can get hammered by packers in that area.


Especially after rains.

https://www.ar15.com/media/mediaFiles/3446/19059.JPG

https://www.ar15.com/media/mediaFiles/3446/19054.JPG


That was my experience. I'll never go back. My favorite mountain hiking is the Cabinets.
Link Posted: 7/14/2021 9:10:36 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wtfboombrb:


That was my experience. I'll never go back. My favorite mountain hiking is the Cabinets.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wtfboombrb:
Originally Posted By elcope:
Originally Posted By TheGreatCornholio:
Some of the trails can get hammered by packers in that area.


Especially after rains.

https://www.ar15.com/media/mediaFiles/3446/19059.JPG

https://www.ar15.com/media/mediaFiles/3446/19054.JPG


That was my experience. I'll never go back. My favorite mountain hiking is the Cabinets.


Waterproof boots are a must.
Link Posted: 8/31/2021 4:07:10 PM EDT
I loved that area. I hope to get back there next year.
An error occurred on the server when processing the URL. Please contact the system administrator.

If you are the system administrator please click here to find out more about this error.