Granite Peak, MT, day 1

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Saturday, July 30, 2011

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My guide, Kenny, came by my hotel at 6:30.  I followed him to Red Lodge, MT. where we had breakfast.  We then drove to Roscoe.  I left my car there and we took Kenny's car to the Granite Peak trailhead, or at least as close as we could get.  The last 1 1/2 miles of the road are closed at the moment adding three miles round-trip to an already long hike of over 23-miles.

Granite Peak is the highest point in Montana.  While opinions differ on just which is the hardest, Granite Peak, Gannett Peak, the highpoint of Wyoming, and Mt. Rainier, the highpoint of Washington, are considered the three most difficult highpoints in the lower 48.  While Gannett Peak and Mt. Rainier involve a lot of snow travel, Granite Peak is the only one that requires rock climbing skills.

We met our porter, Seth, at the trailhead.  I thought he was going to lighten my load but, unfortunately, most of what he carried was food, stoves, tents and other group gear.  While he didn't lower my pack weight as much as I had hoped he did keep it from getting heavier.

We walked the 1 1/2 miles to the Silver Lake Trail.trailhead.  We then followed the Silver Lake Trail to Mystic Lake where we picked up the Phantom Creek Trail with its 22 switchbacks climbing up to Froze-to-Death Plateau.  We went another couple miles across the Plateau and camped near Froze-to-Death Mountain at nearly 11,000 feet.  We had covered around eight miles and climbed over 4,000 feet of vertical today.
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