Torrey Mountain at 11147' is one of the two highest peaks within the Pioneer Mountains. It's higher neighbor just to the north, Tweedy Mountain, is 7 feet higher at 11154'. Most refer to this range as the East Pioneers. Both peaks lie within the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Torrey can be seen from I-15.
Despite Tweedy and Torrey being less than two miles from each other, both peaks are seldom climbed in the same day. While slopes running to and from both summits are routine enough, there are significant Class 5 ridge sections connecting the peaks which have to be dealt with.
Montana's Pioneer Mountains are bisected by the 49 mile Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. Also known as the Wise River-Polaris road. The East Pioneers have 16 named summits over 10000'. The West Pioneers have none and are characterized by gentler, forested terrain.
Traveling on I-15 reveals a combination of high desert sagebrush and rich green irrigated crop land. Once you venture into the interior you will find numerous lakes, alpine flowers, and timber reaching as high as 9500'. Half a dozen lakes are visible from Torrey's summit.
Equally impressive as the interior scenery, is the abundance of signs at every road junction on Birch Creek road and on the trail to Deerhead Lake.
Dillon is the closest city with all available services.
From I-15 take the Apex exit 74 which is approximately 12 miles north of Dillon. Travel west on Birch Creek road 12.2 miles to Dinner Station campground. Another 1/10 mile will take you to a large circular parking area with a sign marking the Deerhead Lake trailhead.
Deerhead Lake route Class 2
The trailhead starts at Dinner Station campground elevation 7132'. This trail works up the hillside above Birch Creek for 1.3 miles. Here it intersects with a nice ATV trail with a sign pointing to Deerhead Lake 7582'. This section runs for about 1/2 mile to the lake.
East ridge ascent route
Walk around either side of Deerhead Lake and work your way up the forested ridge on your right (north side). If you choose to get onto the top of this rounded ridge, you will find a faint trail weaving through the forested terrain. Continue on up as the trees give way to typical boulder and tundra terrain. You may use a hand for balance a fair amount as you work the boulders, but that is all.
A nice open tundra saddle awaits you at 10800' and then the final ascent up to the top. Round trip distance should be between 9-10 miles.
East Pioneer 10000' Club
These are the 16 named summits over 10000'.
|9||Black Lion Mountain||10432'|
When To Climb
June, July, August, September. Other months would depend on snow conditions.
According to Bill Cunningham in his book "Wild Montana", winter ascents are possible. Birch Creek road does provide winter access. Cunningham indicates there are avalanche issues to contend with on Torrey.
The following information is provided to give an idea as to when to climb and the amount of traffic on the mountain.
The USFS has a metal summit register on top with a new waterproof notebook inside. The first ascent recorded for 2005 was in early June. Mine was the twelfth ascent of the season at the end of July.
Dinner Station campground is the closest. This is a Forest Service campground with fees and stay limits. Although Dinner Station is not shown on the topo maps, it is located right where the 7132' spot elevation can be seen on a topo map.
It is an 8.5 mile hike from the Mono Creek campground to reach Torrey Lake. Many use the lake as a base camp to take on both Torrey and Tweedy. Photo credit: bakcast.
Forest Supervisor's Office
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
420 Barrett St.
Dillon, Mt 59725