Granite Peak gear?

Granite Peak gear?

Joined: July 16th, 2005, 8:39 pm

March 17th, 2006, 7:06 pm #1

I'm planning on climbing Granite Peak (Montana) in the beginning of July and I was wondering if anyone here had done it around that time in previous years and what gear you brought. I'm particularly interested in footwear. It looks like a lot of scrambling so I'd like to wear my approach shoes (Hurray for sticky rubber!). But I've also heard there can be a lot of snow/ice. Will I need to kick steps? Do I need crampons? Should I wear my plastics? I'm hoping I can get away with climbing in my approach shoes since I think that'll be faster and more enjoyable. Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Julia

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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 6:42 pm

March 17th, 2006, 7:47 pm #2

I can only give you information relating to my climb of Granite Peak on June 27, 1990. I wore running shoes, did not carry an ice axe or crampons, and encountered only a little snow. There was some snow present, but it did not impede travel significantly. Since I don't live in the area, I don't know if the previous winter was a low-snow winter or not.
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Joined: April 7th, 2004, 1:56 pm

March 18th, 2006, 12:30 am #3

I'm planning on climbing Granite Peak (Montana) in the beginning of July and I was wondering if anyone here had done it around that time in previous years and what gear you brought. I'm particularly interested in footwear. It looks like a lot of scrambling so I'd like to wear my approach shoes (Hurray for sticky rubber!). But I've also heard there can be a lot of snow/ice. Will I need to kick steps? Do I need crampons? Should I wear my plastics? I'm hoping I can get away with climbing in my approach shoes since I think that'll be faster and more enjoyable. Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Julia

I climbed Granite in late June of 1994. That was a low snow year and the spring temperatures had been warm. I wore heavy-ish approach boots and strapped crampons to them (we went up Huckleberry Creek and ascended Granite Glacier). The crampons were strap-on rather than step-in, so I could get away without needing my plastic boots. I did need the crampons, but not the ice axe - nor did we rope up after the snow bridge. We crossed over the top of Granite Glacier to Froze-to-Death and could kick steps later in the day.

As to Steve's comment about snow: this year, Montana is running about 110 - 115% of normal (first time in many years) although I don't know specifics about the Beartooths. I would recommend coming fully prepared for a big snowpack, just in case.
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Joined: April 8th, 2004, 6:46 pm

March 18th, 2006, 12:37 am #4

I'm planning on climbing Granite Peak (Montana) in the beginning of July and I was wondering if anyone here had done it around that time in previous years and what gear you brought. I'm particularly interested in footwear. It looks like a lot of scrambling so I'd like to wear my approach shoes (Hurray for sticky rubber!). But I've also heard there can be a lot of snow/ice. Will I need to kick steps? Do I need crampons? Should I wear my plastics? I'm hoping I can get away with climbing in my approach shoes since I think that'll be faster and more enjoyable. Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Julia

Julia,

I climbed Granite in 2000 following what I recall being a fairly average winter for snow. I ascended via the Rosebud/Avalanche Lake approach and used stiff leather mountaineering boots, crampons and an axe. I used running shoes for the approach, but found the climbing gear to be useful during the climb above Avalanche Lake.

The gully leading from the lake to the Tempest/Granite saddle was hard packed snow and a moderate grade. Climbing it in the early AM without crampons and an axe would have been a chore. Once above the saddle the I went through a period of taking my crampons on and off as I crossed steep, snow-filled chutes on the summit ridge. Now that I am more experienced, my guess is that I would be satisfied to just kick steps in these snow sections and use my axe.

Having said all that, if I was climbing that route today under similar conditions, I would definitely bring stiff boots and an axe and probably still bring crampons. If you ascend the "froze to death" plateau route, however, the need for crampons may even be less.

A more current and very informative account of a July 2005 climb with pictures from some of my friends here in New Mexico can be found here:

http://www.themountaininstitute.com/rep ... anite.html.

They are very skilled and experienced mountaineers and I think that its fair to say from their account that an axe is the minimum gear needed for an early summer ascent of Montana's highest.

Have fun!

Sean Cunniff
ABQ, NM
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 6:42 pm

March 19th, 2006, 7:32 pm #5

I can only give you information relating to my climb of Granite Peak on June 27, 1990. I wore running shoes, did not carry an ice axe or crampons, and encountered only a little snow. There was some snow present, but it did not impede travel significantly. Since I don't live in the area, I don't know if the previous winter was a low-snow winter or not.
I should add that my June 1990 route went from Mystic Lake directly up to Froze-to-Death Plateau. The return was via the same route.
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