Open Door from the traverse between MacLeod and New
Of the peaks in the Granite Creek area, Open Door Mountain (or Open Door Peak) offers the shortest distance from car to summit. However, the Gros Ventre Range is lightly used, and vistas from the top are expansive and impressive, taking in many other Gros Ventre Peaks, the Tetons, and the Wyoming Range. There is an absolutely stunning view of Antoinette Peak, Open Door's close neighbor, and there are views of trailless wilderness as well.
Open Door Mountain, or Peak 11,113, gets its name from a huge limestone tower on it called Open Door Pinnacle (aka Chimney Rock), which in turn gets its name from an "opening" on it called the Open Door. This pinnacle is not only an impressive feature but is a climbing objective as well; in Guide to the Wyoming Mountains and Wilderness Areas, Orrin Bonney lists two routes on it, one 5.5 and the other 5.7.
Bonney's routes should always be taken with a grain of salt; he has a penchant for calling Class 2 routes Class 3 (like the one he mentions up this mountain) and has designated several routes as Class 4 when they are known to be moderate Class 5. But he was from a different day, one that climbers consider to be one of harder climbers.
Open Door Pinnacle
From the trailhead, Open Door Mountain doesn't look that pretty or exciting, but that is partially because the summit is not visible. As one first starts driving up Granite Creek, though, there is a fine view of Antoinette and Open Door, and any mountaineer seeing it will be struck with a wish to climb these nice peaks. And it's possible to do both together even though pictures of Open Door from Antoinette show a foreboding ridge traverse. But it goes.
Antoinette Peak and Open Door Mountain from the start of the road
I could not open the tube containing the summit register. Maybe you will have better luck. Bring a large wrench!
Summit of Open Door Mountain
About 11 miles southeast of Hoback Junction, look for a signed road heading north into the Granite Creek Recreation Area. This gravel-and-dirt road, which can be a little rough but is still passable for most passenger vehicles, follows Granite Creek for 10 miles to Granite Hot Springs, a popular spa (admission fee required). Along the way there are spectacular views of Granite Creek and the Gros Ventre Range.
7.5 miles up the road, look for a spur that makes a bridged crossing of Granite Creek. Turn here and follow signs for 0.1 mi to a trailhead. Find a spur road (usually closed) that makes a bridged crossing of Swift Creek. Just across the bridge, a sign indicates the beginning of Swift Creek Trail.
Open Door Mountain from near the Trailhead
- South Face-- Bonney calls it Class 3, but I found it to be all Class 2 except for a short bit of 2+ near the summit block. It's a strenuous route, though, gaining over 4300' in just 2.5-3 miles.
- Antoinette-Open Door traverse-- If you stick to the crests of both ridges as much as possible, this is at least Class 4, with plenty of exposure and rotten rock. Good stuff! I'm fairly certain, though, that one could drop below the ridges and traverse on their west side and encounter nothing worse than Class 3, and only a very little of it than that, but that would be cheating. ;-) In any event, a day of climbing both these peaks will mean 9-10 miles and 5300-5500' of elevation gain.
Open Door Mountain
Nothing special-- just read and follow regulations posted at the trailhead.
Open Door Mountain
When to Climb
Summer is best, but Granite Creek Road is open year-round (accessible by snowmobiles only in winter).
Antoinette Peak and Open Door Mountain
Granite Creek Campground is a mile up the road from the trailhead. It is a large campground with running water and flush toilets. Sites cannot be reserved. The camping fee was $10 per night in July 2009.
Dispersed camping is widely available, and backcountry camping is free (and no permit is needed).