Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 8, 2017
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer

This
mountain doesn’t get the attention it deserves. 
Anyone who has ever looked up at the Absaroka Range while driving
eastbound over the Bozeman Pass has probably noticed Mount Delano’s steep north
face and more graceful south side. 
Delano’s north face is easily one of the highest cliff faces on the
north end of the range. 



Yet it
seems almost no guidebook provides much info about this amazing mountain.



I’ve
tried climbing Delano 4 times over the past few years and I can tell you that
Mount Delano does not give up its summit easily.  I’ve tried it from the Suce Creek trailhead,
From ‘deep’ into the Deep Creek trail, from a frontal approach beginning from
the Deep Creek Trailhead, and most recently (and finally successfully) by way
of the old logging roads to the west of the Mountain.



  Mount Delano takes A FULL DAY
(unlike some surrounding mountains like Livingston Peak and even Mount Black).  My previous attempts failed due to late starts
and lack of reconnaissance. 



  My 4th, successful
attempt began at the Deep Creek trailhead parking lot.  I strode up the Deep Creek trail until just
after crossing the bridge over the Creek (less than a mile in).  On the ‘other’ side of the creek I immediately
left the trail and bushwhacked directly up and over the left ridge.  I hopped a fence and made use of some old
logging roads.  The logging roads proved
quite advantageous, as they allowed for a very gradual line up the west side of
the foothills.



  I had sized up this mountain enough
to know that it is STEEP on almost all sides, and rises about a mile above the
parking lot.  But the logging roads led
to a gradual cirque which arcs widely around the west and north of the
summit.  By utilizing this very gradual
route, I saved my legs and my stamina for later in the day.  As fortune had it, there were well-defined
elk trails which traced the inside of the cirque (just below the ridgeline)
almost all the way up.



  The trees on Mount Delano were
almost all burned and killed during the Pine Creek fire several years ago.  Consequently, every branch I grabbed left my
hands black with charcoal. 



  With the exception of some cairns at
the summit, I encountered no signs of previous human contact.  I am quite sure I was the first person up the
mountain this year.  There is no summit
registry.  I took a minute at the top to
construct a makeshift art display with a pair of moos antlers and moose jaws I
stumbled upon early in my hike. 



  I opted to return to my car by
plunging directly down some chasms on the west side of the mountain, which led
me quickly to an immense glacial valley that curved outward and then southward
toward Deep Creek.  It was tricky
rock-hopping for hours, and I arrived at my vehicle with legs that were so week
I could barely manage to drive back home. 

Mount Delano

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