Mount Blackmore, Gallatin National Forest
Mount Blackmore is a long steep approach, initial switchbacks, then generally straight until within 2 miles of Mount Blackmore where switchbacks become commonplace. I saw several people avoiding the switchbacks up Elephant Mountain by making a straight shot for Blackmore's summit, but those people missed out on the views from the saddle which were incredible. There were still snow fields to cross if you were to stay on trail, but if you wanted to avoid them, that was easily done with some simple scrambling. I brought an ice axe which I found to be very useful on the snow, but not completely necessary as others reached the summit without one. It was a great hiking experience but the hike back to the car really drags on toward the end. It took me 7 hours and I did not stop hiking much at all. The map claims a 10.4 mile hike but my GPS claimed over 14 possibly from all the switchbacks.
I had minor difficulty ensuring myself I was on the right trail from the trail head. I did not find any signs labeling the trail as a Blackmore Peak trail. From the trail head, I kept generally south, west and uphill and it worked out.
I did not see any animals but there was fresh black bear scat on the trail closer to the trail head.
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