Granite Peak, Montana

Prominence: 4759 ft, 1450 m

Elevation: 12,799 feet, 3901 meters

True Isolation: 86.03 mi, 138.45 km
Elevation Info:NAVD88 Elevation: 12,804 ft / 3903 m
SubpeaksGranite Peak - Northwest Peak (12,745 ft/3885 m)
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)45° 9' 48'' N, 109° 48' 27'' W
45.163453, -109.807609 (Dec Deg)
593711 E 5001800 N, Zone 12 (UTM)
CountryUnited States
State/ProvinceMontana (Highest Point)
County/Second Level RegionPark (Highest Point)

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Other Web Sites
     Granite Peak at
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     Granite Peak at Summits on the Air (Amateur Radio) Trip Report for Park, MT by Scott Surgent Trip Report for Park, MT by Dave Covill Trip Report for Park, MT by Ron Tagliapietra

Weather and Snow
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Lists that contain Granite Peak:
     Contiguous 48 U.S. State High Points (Rank #8)
     U.S. State High Points (Rank #10)
     United States State/Territory High Points (Rank #10)
     EPIC List - States of the USA (Rank #11)
     Combined USA-Canada-Mexico State/Province High Points (Rank #20)
     USA Lower 48 Top 100 Peaks by Prominence (Rank #71)
     Apex (Toughest) CoHPs (Rank #8)
     Fifty Highest CoHPs in Lower 48 (Rank #48)
     5000 foot gain CoHPs - 48 States (Rank #15)
     Top 10 Prominence Grid for U.S. States (Rank #82)
     USA Lower 48 Peaks with 4000 feet of Prominence (Rank #71)
     Top 10 County High Points Grid for U.S. States (Rank #35)
     2000-foot Prominence CoHPs - 48 States (Rank #51)
     Top 10 Elevation Grid for U.S. States (Rank #65)
     5000 foot gain CoHPs (Rank #21)
     CoHP High Five List (Rank #30)
     Top 10 Isolation Grid for U.S. States (Rank #67)
     100 Highest CoHPs in Lower 48 (Rank #48)
     100 Highest CoHPs (Rank #55)
     U.S. National Forest High Points (Rank #19)
     Montana Wilderness High Points (Rank #1)
     Peakbagging Montana List of 53 Peaks (Rank #1)
     Montana County High Points (Rank #1)
     Montana 11,000-foot Peaks (Rank #1)
(Peak is on over 20 lists; Not all shown here.)

Selected Guidebook(s) for this Peak:
       Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone (Turiano)
       Fifty State Summits, Guide with Maps to State Highpoints (Zumwalt)
       Highpoints of the United States: A Guide to the Fifty State Summits (Holmes)
       Peakbagging Montana (Jones)
       Highpoint Adventures: The Complete Guide to the 50 State Highpoints (Winger)

Ascent Info

Total ascents/attempts logged by registered users: 415
     Show all viewable ascents/attempts (Total: 390)

Selected Trip Reports:
     0000 by Peakin' Out
     1991-08-26 by Greg Slayden (GPS Track)
     2004-07-13 by Ben Lostracco (Unsuccessful)
     2006-08-23 by Ben Lostracco (Unsuccessful)
     2007-08-01 by Caj Svensson
     2007-09-14 by Dustin Stoltz
     2008-08-02 by Ben Lostracco
     2011-09-24 by Darren Knezek
     2012-07-31 by Brian Friedrich (GPS Track)
     2014-07-14 by Grant Miller
     2014-07-30 by Marlin Thorman (GPS Track)
     2014-08-20 by Gustav Sexauer
     2014-08-27 by Craig Willis
     2015-07-05 by Sam Grant (GPS Track)
     2015-07-26 by Dennis Stewart (Unsuccessful)
     2015-08-08 by Tye Scott (Unsuccessful)
     2016-08-02 by Tye Scott
     2016-08-06 by Jeff McGowan
     2016-08-09 by Ryan Turner (GPS Track)
     2016-08-10 by Dennis Stewart
     2016-08-16 by David Odenwalder
     2017-08-04 by Mark Smith
     2018-07-04 by Daniel Mick (Unsuccessful) (GPS Track)
     2018-07-30 by David Darby (GPS Track)
     2018-08-11 by Nick Goumas (GPS Track)
     2018-08-12 by Mihai Giurgiulescu (GPS Track)
     2019-08-21 by Patrick Grengs
     2019-08-26 by David Keltgen (GPS Track)
     2020-08-10 by Brian Webb
     2020-08-28 by Walter Blume (GPS Track)
     2020-09-05 by Jackson Hall
     2020-09-06 by Oliver Staley
     2020-09-06 by Josh Super
     2021-07-30 by William Musser (GPS Track)
     2021-08-16 by Dave Covill
     2022-09-07 by Grog Supervolcano (GPS Track)

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Granite Peak
     Elevation Ladder from Granite Peak
     Prominence Ladder from Granite Peak


Resembling a huge, jagged meat cleaver, this rugged and remote peak, Montana's highest, is one of the most difficult of the state highpoints to climb. Besides some talus-strewn class 3 and 4 climbing, Granite Peak is notorious for the brutal thunderstorms that lash its slopes with predictable monotony on summer afternoons. Lack of a good high camp, a horrible access road, a short but dangerous ridge of snow, and lots of rotten rock are other factors making even the easiest route on this monster a real adventure.

Climbing Notes:

The most common approach to Granite Peak is from the West Rosebud trailhead, at the end of a long, dusty, washboarded road beginning near Fishtail, MT. A good trail leads uphill a few miles to Mystic Lake and its hydroelectric dam, a popular destination for fishermen. From the east shore of the lake another trail leads steeply uphill to a notch at the northern end of the barren, rock-strewn plateau of Froze-to-Death Mountain. This low notch can also be reached from the East Rosebud trailhead, but the distance and elevation gain are both greater.

From the notch, an infrequently-cairned route leads south and southwest across the desolate, wind-swept expanse of the plateau. The actual summit of Froze-to-Death Mountain (11,765') is off to the right. The eventual goal is a fairly prominent "gateway", a small notch on the side of the plateau where the route leaves the rolling surface and starts to slab down towards Granite Peak itself. The Peak is visible for the first time from the "gateway". If the sight of this monster's sheer north face and the inevitable thunderstorm have dissuaded you at this point, you can stroll south to Tempest Mountain (12,478'), the high point of the plateau.

An exceptional party could perhaps make Granite a day hike, but it's best to seek shelter from the afternoon storms by pitching a tent before you get to the "gateway"--there are some rough stone walls that offer some protection from the incessant wind. Just watch out for lightning strikes on the flat, exposed plateau.

From the gateway, follow a rough path slabbing down to the col between the plateau and Granite Peak. From there ascend about 800' up a triangular slope of steep, blocky talus to near its top, where you will be near the incredibly jagged crest of Granite's east summit ridge. The idea is to stay to the south of the ridge, as close to the crest as possible, crossing over several rock ribs and avoiding falling to your death by slipping on all the loose rock. The only really hairy part of this section is where the route actually goes along the ridge for ten feet at a narrow saddle. There's quite a drop-off on both sides, and if the saddle is snow-covered, a belay and an ice-axe are strongly advised--presence of snow is a factor of snowpack depth and season, but I think that by mid-August in most years the snow is gone.

Eventually the route leads you to a point about 75' below the summit. It looks pretty sheer from there, and good rock climbers may want to try the chimney that leads directly up to the top. The easiest route winds around to the right (as you look up), and it involves hanging on to a big crack on a short traverse. Confident scramblers shouldn't have any problems, but the timid may want a rope. Once past the lower parts, a minute of easy rock- hopping brings you to the summit of Montana.

The summit naturally offers a fantastic view of the desolate high tablelands of the wild Beartooth-Absoroka wilderness, but you shouldn't tarry too long--thunderstorms are often on their way, and its best to be back on the Froze-to-Death plateau by 1 PM or so. Granite Peak itself, with it's steep sections of loose rock, is no place to be when it gets wet or the lightning bolts are flying. A strong party should be able to make it back to their cars after summiting in the morning, but everyone should at least try to get down to Mystic Lake to avoid another hellish night on the windswept plateau.

There are other approach routes: You can reach the Granite-plateau col from the brushy Huckleberry Valley to the north, or via a long overland haul from Cooke City. Either way, the route from the col along the summit ridge is the same, unless you want some serious rock-climbing challenge on the much more jagged east ridge or the sheer north face. This face features a constant rain of rockfall cascading down to the small glacier at its feet.

Granite Peak under ominous leaden clouds, from the slope of Froze-to-Death plateau (1991-08-26).
Web Map LinksPeakfinder Panorama
GeoHack Links   CalTopo   MyTopo   Bing Maps
Google Maps   Open Street Map
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 4759 ft/1450 m
  Optimistic Prominence: 4799 ft/1462 m
  Line Parent: Francs Peak
  Key Col: Colter Pass    8040 ft/2451 m
IsolationIsolation Page  (Detailed isolation information)
   Distance: 86.03 mi/138.45 km
   Isolation Limit Point: 43.962991, -109.340991
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Francs Peak  (SSE)
RangesContinent: North America
Range2: Rocky Mountains
Range3: Greater Yellowstone Rockies
Range4: Absaroka Range
Range5: Beartooth Mountains (Highest Point)
Drainage BasinsYellowstone
Gulf of Mexico
Atlantic Ocean
OwnershipLand: Custer National Forest (Highest Point)/Gallatin National Forest (Highest Point)
Wilderness/Special Area: Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area (Highest Point)
Topo MapGranite Peak O45109b7 1:24,000
Route #1 Exposed Scramble
Trailhead: Mystic Lake Trailhead 6557 ft/1999 m
Vertical Gain: 6822 ft/2078 m
Distance (one way): 11 mi/17.7 km
Data Source1:25,000 (or larger) Topographic Survey Map
Dynamic Map

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Other Photos

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Celebrating on the summit of Granite Peak (2008-08-02). Photo by Ben Lostracco.
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East face of Granite Peak (1984-08-09). Photo by John Vitz.
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Approaching Granite. The snow tongue was nearly gone (2016-08-06). Photo by Jeff McGowan.
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Reaching the Granite summit was a goal of mine since I first moved to Montana 3 1/2 years ago. Unfortunately due to weather did not have much time to enjoy it (2016-08-06). Photo by Jeff McGowan.
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Looking at Froze to Death Plateau (2016-08-06). Photo by Jeff McGowan.
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Who Summited Better? (2017-08-04). Photo by Austin D. Smith.
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At the base of the snow-filled portion of the Southwest Ramp (2019-07-23). Photo by Joel Wilner.
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Looking up at the Southwest Ramp from below the Slab. The snow portion is much steeper and more extensive than it appears here (2019-07-23). Photo by Joel Wilner.
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Extensive mid-late July snow conditions below the Slab and in the Snow Tongue (2019-07-23). Photo by Joel Wilner.
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Looking down the Southwest Ramp, filled with snow. This is just the upper portion of the Ramp - it steepens where the snow disappears in the middle of this photo and continues on for a couple hundred more vertical feet, still filled with snow. Without rope, this is a no-fall zone (2019-07-23). Photo by Joel Wilner.
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