Granite Mountain is located at the Northern end of Montana's Pioneer Range. At 10,633ft it is the 3rd highest point in the range after Tweedy Mountain(11,154ft) and Torrey Mountain(11,127ft). From the South and East it looks like a gentle peak, but from the North and West it looks dramatically different, it is a rugged, impressive mountain from the north and west. Like most of the Pioneer Mountains, Granite Mountain seldom sees any climbers. The view from any mountain in the Pioneer Range is spectacular. From this relatively narrow range you can see the Highlands, the Tobacco Roots Mountains, The Pinter Range, and the Bitteroot Range.
Cherry Lake Approach: Take Interstate 15 south of Butte or north of Dillion to the Melrose exit, which is about 30 miles south of Butte. Take the second left out of Melrose on the road that follows Cherry Creek. Drive to the Cherry Lake trailhead and then it is about a 4 mile walk to Cherry Lake, which is at the eastern base of Granite Mountain. From Cherry Lake or from Green Lake it is just a 1500ft walk up to the false summit of Granite, then it is a short walk to the real top of Granite Mountain. This is the best way to climb Granite Mountain.
South side of Granite Mountain and Rock Creek Drainage
Rock Creek/Waukena Lake Approach: Take the Apex exit on Interstate 15(about 20 miles farther south than the Melrose exit). Drive the Apex road until you reach the Willow Creek road that takes off to the right of the main road after about 7 miles. Follow the Willow Creek Road all the way until the it ends, after about 10 miles. It will end after a large clear-cut, at the Rock Creek/Waukena Lake trailhead. The trail will drop into the Rock Creek drainage. It is about 6-7 miles from there to Waukena Lake. You can either climb up the ridge from Waukena Lake or take off from lower down on the trail to climb Granite Mountain's South side.
Trapper Creek Drainage and NE Ridge of Granite Mountain
Trapper Creek/Hecla Mines Area Approach: This route takes you within 3 miles of the summit. Take the Melrose exit of Interstate 15. Take the Trapper Creek Road after about 3 miles, it will keep going straight where
Canyon Creek Rd takes off up the hill. Take the road all the way until you pass a large building (Trapper Mine) with a couple of tailing piles beside it (after about 7 miles on Trapper Creek Rd.) From there you bush-wack a little over a mile cross Trapper Creek drainage and head up to the top of the ridge to the point where timberline begins. From there just follow the ridge to the first false summit, then drop down into the saddle below the second false summit. Go over the top and you will be within a hundred yards of the real top. If you are into doing things the hard way, the is a large couloir that goes almost straight to the top of Granite Mountain. To get there you have to go to the end of the road(a topo map would really help) and hike down to the only lake up there, Trapper Lake. From the Trapper Lake the couloir should be visible and only about a half mile away. From the summit, the couloir appears to be a class 3 to a class 4 scramble.
When to Climb
This mountain can be climbed on foot or on skis from the south and east.
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