Started this eventful day from the trailhead at Cut Bank Campground on a foggy morning with low cloud cover and poor visibility . I set out solo and approximately 2 miles into the hike the trail rises through the forest and tops out on a high point where you can take in views of Cut Bank Creek and the mountains to the south. I started downhill, and shortly thereafter, I saw 2 large brown humps walking directly down the trail in my direction. It was obvious there were 2 grizzly bears on the trail. I had been making ample noise (as I always do when hiking solo or with groups in grizzly country); in hindsight, sounds from nearby rushing water and a headwind may have prevented the bears from hearing me. They were still several hundred feet away so I made more noise and used a rise in the trail where the bears could not see me to backtrack to higher ground. I again made more noise from my better vantage point; the bears continued to come down the trail and none of their actions made me believe they knew I was there. I again retreated to higher ground and made more noise. I never saw the bears again! I stood in place, adrenaline pumping, for many minutes in hopes I would get a glimpse of where the bears went. Ultimately, I was too afraid to continue down the trail by myself, so I retreated towards the trailhead with hopes of running into fellow hikers. No less than 10 minutes later, I ran into an older couple that was backpacking to Morningstar Lake. I explained my predicament and they were kind enough to hike very loudly with me to the trail juncture for Triple Divide Pass.
By this time, the clouds had lifted, and I enjoyed sunshine as I trudged up the spectacular trail to Triple Divide Pass. At the pass, I encountered a group who relayed story of running into a grizzly with 2 cubs while the group pumped water at a small creek crossing (down trail from where I ran into my bears).
I followed that standard route to Norris from there by leaving the maintained trail and following game trails to the south across the loose scree slopes flanking Triple Divide Peak. From there, it's simple to locate the obvious gully that affords easiest access to the Continental Divide above. From there, it was a simple, albeit a tiring, ascending traverse on game trails to the steep, crumbly class III gully that is visible on Norris Mountain's slopes. After carefully making my way up that gully, it's just a few minutes to scramble along the ridge to the summit of Norris.
Tremendous views abound! I retraced my route on the way back with a quick detour to the summit of Triple Divide Peak.
Just after passing Atlantic Creek Campground, I ran into a father/daughter group that had viewed no less than 5 grizzlies (one with one cub, another with two cubs) near Medicine Grizzly Lake while they hiked the trail down from Triple Divide Pass. Talk about Bearadise!
What a day!
8/12/17 w/Emily Hall
Triple Divide, Norris, and Razoredge.
Climbed with Blake and Bobby for Blake's book. Hit Triple Divide Peak first. Great Autumn colors. Could see a lot of the Thompson Fire area.
Climbed this on an attempt of the Norris traverse. Too much snow in Red Eagle Meadows so we went up and over twice. Lovely views.
In August of 1979 with Bill Blunk while completing the first recorded complete transit of the Norris Traverse (according to J. Gordon Edwards).
Climbed Norris again on July 27, 1994 with Bill, Doug and Richard Blunk.
Soloed after doing Triple Divide Pk. Light termination dust made it interesting in spots!