Some of the most treacherous climbs in the United States involve not only steep grades and technical difficulties but also serious climbs that require significant endurance to cross. Granite Peak in the Rockies’ Beartooth Range of Montana is one such example, providing not only an advanced-level climb, but also quite a trek before you can start slinging ropes.
There are only two approaches to Granite Peak, both of which entail arduous trails followed by a stint across what is known as Froze-To-Death Plateau. This, in addition to the climb itself, is the main reason why most people who climb Granite Peak make it an overnighter. Although it is possible to make it in a day, the strain on the human body is enormous.
If you’re going to be climbing Granite Peak, it is important that you are objective about your abilities. Novice climbers will quickly discover that Granite is not your average climb, and only advanced mountaineers should even consider it. Not only is the climb itself technical and challenging, but rock fall and frigid temperatures make this a climb for the dedicated outdoorsman.
Most people who climb Granite Peak camp out near Avalanche Lake, which falls a little bit short of your average Hilton Hotel. The valley in which campers choose to set up their tents and sleeping bags is littered with rocks and boulders, making comfort almost impossible.
It doesn’t cost anything to climb Granite Peak, but you will need to pay for a permit if you want to cut trees for firewood. You should also obtain a Granite Peak quadrangle map, which will help you navigate your way up the mountain and through the trails. If you have any reservations about your ability to navigate, a better idea is to climb with a guide.
Climbers who attempt Granite Peak will need a comfortable pair of insulated hiking boots , as well as rope, a flashlight, a rappel device and slings. The best time to hike is between July and August, as other times of year are far too cold and the snowfall too deep for climbing conditions.