Malardy Ridge (Road) Miles: 8 Gain: 1400' GT Silverton #1100
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 January 23, 2011
I'd seen this Mountaineers trip listed a couple weeks back and when it opened I signed right up.  Malardy Ridge would be about right for me after the long layoff.  Snowshoeing along a snow covered road and cruising a ridge top on what had been forecast as a fairly nice day.

This would be a first trip to Malardy Ridge, but I had been to the end of the Malardy Road and the trailhead for the Walt Baily Trail up to Cutthroat Lakes maybe 6 or 7 years ago.  Malardy Ridge connects to Bald Mountain just above the lakes. All I remember about the road was that there was no widened area at it's end to park and if full when you got there, you had to back down the road 1/4 mile or so to a place where you could either turn around or park.

Anyway the weather didn't seem to want to cooperate with the forecasters as it hovered around 40 degrees and misted rain for the whole time we were out.  We parked well shy of the snow line (which proved to be about 2500') and began walking the gravel road.  Good exercise, but not riveting as walks go.  We went about 4 miles and in spite of looking to our left, uphill, weren't able to spot the spur road

that led to the ridge top.  Before we knew it we'd reached the end of the road and the trailhead for the Walt Baily Trail.  Time for lunch.

On the way back of course Chuck and Brad found the spur, but said it was way overgrown and likely more work than the group wanted on a misted wet afternoon like this.  As it turned out, the 8 miles and 1400' was about perfect for my first trip out after three months rest.  Knees are sore but not too bad and certainly not as bad as they were after the Grindstone trip.  So more moderate trips like this one may be just the thing to get them back in shape before spring.

I drove east across the red bridge when I got back to the Mountain Loop Highway to see where the closure was. Just beyond the logging road you'd take to do Anaconda there were barricades closing the road to all but local traffic. According to the MBSNF web site there was a slide 7 miles east of Verlot and crews are currently working to stabilize the hillside.
drive the mountain loop highway east of verlot.  just before crossing the 'red bridge' turn right on malardy road (fs 4030), follow and then go right on fs road 4032.

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