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Gallatin Peak via Bear Basin
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Gallatin Peak via Bear Basin

Gallatin Peak via Bear Basin

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Montana, United States, North America

Object Title: Gallatin Peak via Bear Basin

Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 5, 2012

Activities: Scrambling

Season: Summer


Page By: buttskid

Created/Edited: Aug 16, 2012 / Aug 17, 2012

Object ID: 807058

Hits: 2667 

Page Score: 74.01%  - 4 Votes 

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Bear Basin to Summit Lake

Bear Basin
Bear Basin
Looking up the last meadow in upper Bear Basin. No bears yet.
Ben at Bear Basin
Ben chillin up bear basin
Nice gradual climb with a well designed trail up the entire Bear Basin.
Bear Basin Pass
Top of Bear Basin at pass over to Summit Lake.
About 5-6 switch backs up the pass which tops out at 9,680 feet.
Saddle North to Mirror Lake
Top of pass looking North.
The immediate view looking north from the pass is down a long valley towards Mirror Lake. Fortunately, we only had to descend about 350 feet to the right before heading up to Summit Lake.
Summit Lake
Camp at Summit Lake looking North towards Gallatin Peak.
We improvised an ultralight tent by using Ben's footprint ground cloth from his Black Diamond tent. It staked out well using trecking poles. Black flies only bothered us during the day. No misquitos noticed at night. For you fishermen. No fish in this lake at all.

Day 2: Summit Lake to Gallatin Peak

Summit Lake Saddle at Gallatin
Gallatin Peak from Summit lake.
The direct view from Summit Lake opens into this basin with the top of Gallatin Peak just protruding over it's own Southwest ridge. It is possible to head right (east) and scramble up onto the ridge line as an alternative route. We were advised against this and decided to go down and to the left of this ridge to the west couloir route.
Summit Lake to Thompson Lake
Summit Lake towards Thompson Lake.

Our route followed down the valley towards Thompson Lake, then hang a right after about 1/2 mile to ascend the west couloir.
Gallatin Peak West Couloir
Looking up west couloir.

We stayed on the green up the west couloir which provided excellent traction compared to all other available surfaces. "Good Green"
Map Gallatin Peak
topo map to coulior

This small topo shows route from summit lake down and around to west couloir.
Down Bowl of West Couloir
Looking down west to bowl in west couloir.

"Just like a crater of a volcano" was Ben's impression looking down on the flat bowl which is half way up the west couloir.
From Bowl up West Couloir
Looking up the last 1000 feet to the summit.

Great footing up most of the last 1000 feet. This low growing green shrub sticks to the soles much better than grass. Avoid the obvious large notch in the ridgeline to the right. It looks like an obvious ramp to the ridge, but dumps you over to the south east face which is loose and steep. We made that mistake and killed time getting up and over to the west side to better footing.
Class 4 to the top of Gallatin Peak
A little scrambling the last 100 yards.

A few false summits up the ridgeline provided more exposure and views off the back side.
Ben on top of Gallatin Peak
Ben on top!

The young one always summits first. We happened to be climbing the same day that an older gentleman was leading a group up the same route, and he stated that he was the one who put the original register on top back when he was 18 years old!
Summit Lake from Gallatin Peak
Summit Lake camp from top of Gallatin Peak

I took this photo without realizing I was looking at our tent at the south west end of the lake. No goats or sheep to be seen this day.
Lone Peak and the Sphynx
Lone Peak (Big Sky Resort) and Sphynx

Idaho fires burning blew in smoke partially obscuring our view of Lone Peak in the center, and the Sphynx to the left in the background. Skied one and climbed the other. Someday may have to reverse the order.
Buttskid on summit of Gallatin Peak
The old man was joyful to see the top.

The smile says it all.
Flowers at base of Gallatin Peak
Flowers at the base of Gallatin Peak.

heading down back to camp.
South to Summit Lake Saddle
Back up to Summit Lake.

Return trip to Summit Lake includes about 300 vertical and switch backs.
Ben at Summit Lake
Back to Summit Lake

Still smiling despite looking forward to breaking camp and then hiking out. This is when I start thinking ahead about that cold beer and sandwich at the broken spoke!


Ben at Summit Lake


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