SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – October 2008

Highpoint Montana

Get vertical on a tricky class IV route to the top of Granite peak.

by: Charlie Wood & Casey Lyons

Safe descents on weather-beaten Granite Peak take 5 hours (Vince Poore).
Safe descents on weather-beaten Granite Peak take 5 hours (Vince Poore).

The Hike
Granite Peak, at 12,799 feet, was the last of the 50 state highpoints to be climbed (in 1923). The combination of exertion (you'll gain 6,300 feet over 11.6 miles), unpredictable weather, and technical scrambling makes this one of the most exciting two- to four-day backpacking trips in the Rockies. From West Rosebud trailhead, hike to Mystic Lake's ponderosa-lined shores. Here, the approach vaults up 2,000 feet onto Froze-to-Death Plateau's exposed, ankle-busting talus and intermittent snowfields. Set up camp on the shoulder of 12,469-foot Tempest Mountain and prepare for summit day. You'll dip down to a saddle before crossing The Snowbridge, a knife-edge ridge that remains covered with drifts well into August. Then, in less than a mile, climb more than 1,000 feet of blocky don't-fall-here terrain to Montana's roof. The area's ubiquitous mountain goats may follow you to the summit.

The Crux
Mind-spinning exposure. From The Snowbridge, you'll navigate up class III and IV granite. Getting down is even scarier.

The Key
Keen routefinding and proper gear. Montana's Highest Point: A Climbing Guide by Joe Josephson ($20, firstascentpress .com) is the definitive guide and map for the mountain. Study up before you go, and make color copies of the guidebook's photo-based route descriptions to help you pick your way. Also, look for route maps stashed in a weatherproof container just past The Snowbridge. Pack a 60-meter rope, helmet, harness, and a belay device. Rappelling down the steepest pitch (the last 200 feet to the summit, which some rate as class V) will ease vertigo. Plus, if weather moves in–the mountain hides the western view of oncoming storms–you'll want to rap down quickly.

The Way
From Absarokee, Montana, take MT 78 2.9 miles south to a right on MT 419. Drive 7.9 miles to West Rosebud Rd. Turn right and head 6.3 miles to a left onto FR 72 and 14.2 miles of gravel to the trailhead next to the Mystic Lake Hydroelectric Plant.

Plan It
Check weather and trail conditions at the Beartooth Ranger Station (406-446-2103; fs.fed.us/r1/custer/recreation).




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Nathan
May 17, 2012

Theres also the Southwest colour route. My buddy and I did that last summer. Granite is only the second mountain I have ever attempted to climb. The route to the mountain is much more difficult and longer though. Lots of boulder field hopping.

JAMES
May 10, 2012

I've taken five shots at this high point and come up short each and every time. Compared to Granite Peak the high points in Washington (Ranier), Idaho (Borah), and Oregon (Hood) are walks in the park. The weather here is horrible, the time at altitude is long, and the exposure is mind numbing.

Harlene
May 10, 2012

You could consider the trail from EAST Rosebud to Froze-to-Death. Having hiked both ways this is my trail of choice. More scenic. But then, I didn't attempt Granite Peak either. Check your trail maps. Good luck!

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Religion confuses children about fact and fiction
Posted On: Jul 26, 2014
Submitted By: Gabby
Trailhead Register
What year did you go digital?
Posted On: Jul 26, 2014
Submitted By: Adirondackiteer
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions