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Granite Peak Approaches

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I have a trip planned for Granite in August. Which approach do you prefer and why? Thanks

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They are all long and steep, most pick East vs West Rosebud according to if they are driving from Billings or Bozeman. I understand Huckleberry Creek is preffered if you are planing to fish, otherwise it is low enough to make for a long summit day.

 

 

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Thanks. We're thinking about camping on FTD plateau and not really concerned about the extra drive time. Just looking for the easiest approach.

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Regarding Avalanche Lake/Huckleberry Creek approach:

 

This route is VERY RUGGED. We approached this route in the hopes of being sheltered from the thunderstorms predicted last friday night. In hindsite, we should have taken the heavier 4 season tent and gone up Froze to Death or not gone at all. After hiking the Mystic lake trail for 6 miles, we encountered approximatly 6 miles of heavy bushwacking and boulder hopping. There could be a sparse trail that we may have lost while crossing snow patches but the cairns don't seem to lead in any consistant direction or route. In the morning of our summitt attempt, the first task was to traverse a large boulderfield with rocks the size of train cars and sherman tanks to get around Avalanche lake. On one occasion a boulder the size of a VW my partner had just hopped accross gave away under my weight and crashed 100' down into the lake taking a lot of other rocks with it leaving me dangling from another precariously perched boulder. After spending a day and a half just to reach the Tempest/Granite Col, our motivation was crushed and we wussed out of what might have been a great snow climb blaming it on the gusting winds which were strong enough to knock you off of a stance and I could just imagine the rope flying all over the place and my partner was pretty anxious to get down to the Mystic Lake trail before dark.

 

Oh, and the bugs at the lakes were incredibly horrible as well.

 

The Granite Peak map we used appeared to indicate a trail but upon closer inspection it is just a dotted line of "recomended travel" not a dashed line of an actual trail like heading up Phantom Creek to gain the Froze to Death Plateau.

 

Conclusion: Huckleberry Creek approach is NOT recomended unless you have a particularly strong appetite for unecesary suffering which I realize is most of us here but a REALLY REALLY strong appetite is what I mean. Probably a Grade IV approach on the Nelson/Potterfield scale.

 

Sitting out a T-Storm on the approach under a boulder.

IMGP3053.JPG

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My vote depends on whether you want to camp and forecast. If your alpining it, I would go FTD in and out. Lots of water available on FTD. Overnight with good forecast (tboomers) is very unlikely and untrustworthy but I would still FTD it, Some bivy style rock shelters exist on shoulder of Tempest.

For and enjoyable and less common Aero Lakes would be cool, especially if you have a little time. Altough, I don't know if I would describe Aero as sheltered. Memory seems to scream "wide open". Beautiful hike in though, and an excuse to drive through Lamar Valley (YNP) and burgers/beers in Cooke City.

Enjoy.

Oh, if your a sucker for loops, I would heavily research descent through Huckleberry, I was forced to descend it without prior knowledge and it was a bit of an ordeal, did see some massive rocks go during an afternoon descent.

 

Edited by chrismael

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My father took me up there in 74. The afternoon thunderstorms were shocking. Our hair stood on end and there was a constant humming sound broken only by deafening claps of thunder with flashes of blinding light all around us. The only way to describe it is "Sheer terror".

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My father took me up there in 74. The afternoon thunderstorms were shocking. Our hair stood on end and there was a constant humming sound broken only by deafening claps of thunder with flashes of blinding light all around us. The only way to describe it is "Sheer terror".

 

The Rockies are notorious for lightning storms. In Colorado, you try to top out on alpine adventures by noon to avoid the inevitable afternoon storms.

 

I climbed Granite Peak with a fundamental Christian who swore that it was only a couple of thousand years old, created by God, while I as a scientist asserted that it was in the billions of years. We survived the argument and summited and met a guide with a mid 70's dude who was at the time the oldest person to summit.

 

I recommend the Froze to Death approach as I prefer to avoid bushwacking and don't mind the extra distance. There is an elevation loss from the Plateau to the col to approach Granite but if you don't like to walk you wouldn't be doing Granite anyway.

 

If you have an extra day or two, the Beartooth Plateau is magnificent high trekking.

 

Hope you had a great trip.

Edited by matt_warfield

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I'm looking for updated info on Granite Peak approaches and current conditions.

 

Anyone still reading this thread?

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You might check the www.montanaice.com boards for current conditions in the Bear Tooth range.

 

 

Edited by Bronco

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I've climbed two routes on the ribs that drop down the south side. Both were really fun. The furthest right one was 3rd class, the one left of it had some 5.7-5.8. They are both fairly obvious from Sky Tops Lakes which is the nicest approach. So I recommend going in via Aero and Sky Tops Lakes. Both the scenery and routes are nicer. I've also been on the Huckleberry and FTD approaches which are straight forward but not as scenic. I recall the FTD approach suffers from tedious switchbacks in timber.

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I was fortunate to be in there late last summer photographing glaciers. I thought it was sensationally beautiful terrain...

 

Here's one view of Granite: http://www.pbase.com/nolock/image/117019250

 

I was working out of Red Lodge. No big storms when I was there, but previous to that, up in Kalispell... holy gawdamighty... wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near those huge thunderheads...and they all sprang up after noon, yup.

 

 

 

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Heya top,

 

My partner and I will be doing the S face via the E ridge (standard route) this month also. We've selected the E Rosebud (phantom cr trail #17) approach due to the W Rosebud road washout which adds 1.5 miles to the approach on the Mystic Lake side... It's a long enough hike in without that imo. The beta on the T storms are correct, one needs be off that peak early. Don't let em scare ya off though... Hope the links help some.

 

http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/custer/currentconditions/index.shtml

 

http://www.friendsofgranitepeak.com/TRAILHEADS.html

 

Maybe we'll see ya up there.

 

d

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will also be doing this route this month. I was hoping to go via West Rosebud, but I don't want to do the extra 3-mile hike on the road.

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Using the Phantom Creek approach puts you back in Roscoe at the Grizzly Bar and Grill for dinner. Good food, typically slow MT service. :rolleyes:

 

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