Gallatin Peak (11,015′)
April 26, 2009 3 Comments
So I have really been slacking lately updating my page, but I will try and make more posts more often if I can.
With spring time drifting in and out up here in Bozeman, it’s been a mixture of heavy powder skiing and spring corn skiing. Taking advantage of the nice, warm weather a couple weekends ago Rob and I decided to attempt to climb and ski the tallest peak in the Spanish Peak Range. Gallatin Peak is clearly visible from Bozeman and I have wanted to climb it for awhile. The approach was difficult to say the least, starting just before sunrise Rob and I climbed out of Beehive Basin on an extremely hard ice crust.
We continued up the eastern ridge of Beehive Basin until we were a ways up and then we dropped down into Middle Basin. We were still skiing extremely firm ice crust and I was having difficulty switchbacking on such hard snow. I boot packed up the last 200′ or so of Middle Basin until we could see down into Bear Basin. Finding surprisingly soft snow on the north facing chute into Bear Basin, we traversed across the valley and gained one more ridge that gave us a view of Gallatin Peak and the Hellroaring Creek drainage.
We crossed the valley and traversed around the base of the peak. We stopped in a stand of trees at the base of the mountain to rest and get ready for the 2000′ climb to the summit. I cached all my extra gear to save weight and began the arduous task of booting to the summit. The summit tricked both Rob and I. I arrived at what I was assuming the summit but realized that this was just a false summit and we had to traverse and climb a couple hundred more feet before we were on the actual summit.
We summited just before noon and timed the decent perfectly. Rob and I both enjoyed some of the best corn skiing we had ever had. 2000′ of uninterrupted 40 degree, wide open, skiing.
After the decent we grabbed our cached gear and ate a lunch in the shadow of the peak. We then had to get back to Beehive Basin. We climbed out of Hellroaring Creek and dropped into Bear Basin. We then traversed/contoured around Middle Basin. Exhausted and hungry we both began the 1500′ climb out of lower Bear Basin and back into Beehive Basin. We got back to the car around 4:30 then went and got some greasy food and beer at the Black Bear Saloon in Big Sky. A great start to the peak season for sure!