Four Select Peak Trip Reports

Share experiences and news about hiking, peak climbing, pack-rafting, ski/snowboard mountaineering, or whatever in Greater Yellowstone.

Moderator: TomTuriano

Post Reply
Tom Carter

Four Select Peak Trip Reports

Post by Tom Carter »

Some of my favorite things are mountains, history, hiking, and the Greater Yellowstone – needless to say I love Turiano's new “Select Peaks” guide. Having authored a number of small hiking guides on the GYE, I recognize a labor of love when I see one. Tom, you are to be congratulated on an outstanding book!

My own intimate relationship with the GYE began as a Yellowstone Tour Guide in the 70s. Over the years I’ve logged almost 4,000 miles hiking throughout the GYE. But, I’d only done a dozen of the peaks included in Select Peaks. After a close reading this winter, I added more than 35 new peaks to my “to do” list.

This past summer I got in 250 miles of hiking in the GYE, including to four Select Peaks – Lone Mountain, Monument Peak, Hoback Peak, and Mount Leidy. The following are a few comments on each:

LONE MOUNTAIN – Soloed Lone Mt on July 27, 2005. Several years ago I had taken the Big Sky gondola up and started to climb Lone Mt., only to he chased off by hail and high winds. This year the weather cooperated. The popular southeast ridge was my route up. I had no problem pulling myself to the top by the cable-lines and boundary ropes that were in place. I was surprised by the number of hikers who were turned back by the steep scramble and exposure along the ridge near the top. As best I can tell, I, and a Big Sky employee who I met at the top, were the only ones who went all the way up that day. After enjoying the views we decided to hike down together. Trail signs near the gondola indicated there was a south ridge route, so we headed off the mountain in that direction. We soon found that this “route” was as steep as the southeast ridge, but with no cable to hold and no real trail to follow. Once down the mountain we grabbed some beer and hit the pool and hot tub at Shoshone Lodge (a hang-out for many of the employees in the area). This was much better end to the day than my first attempt of Lone Mountain!

MONUMENT PEAK – Betsy Watry (Yellowstone Association book buyer) and I took on Monument Peak on July 30, 2005. We spent the night before in Big Timber, but got started later then we’d planned. After the long drive south on 289, claiming a campsite in the Hells Canyon, and attempting to negotiate the Jeep road south of Box Canyon for several miles, we hit the trail a little before 11:00 am. Fortunately, we were able to hitch a ride to Blue Lake with the Clydehurst Christian Camp counselors on their annual trek to Monument Peak (they work the camp for 10 weeks and this is their most anticipated day-off adventure). They had five specially equipped high-clearance pick-up trucks outfitted with straps around the roof of the cabs to allow some riders to stand up in back and look out over the roof of the truck. Others of us just hopped on the mattresses that were thrown in the back. On the bumpy ride up Betsy and I had a great time listening to camp songs and occasionally hanging-on for dear life! We even witnessed a marriage proposal at the old Independence mining camp were we stopped for lunch. From Blue Lake it was an easy 1400 foot scramble to the top of Monument Peak. The commanding views from the peak make it easy to see why it was used by early topographers as a triangulation point. The history included in Select Peaks made the peak all the more enjoyable – standing in the footsteps of such greats as Hague, Weed, and Iddings is fun stuff!

HOBACK PEAK – Dick DuMais (owner of High Peak Books out of Jackson) and I did Hoback Peak on August 4, 2005. We drove down from Jackson that morning and started around 10:30 am. We were a bit concerned about the “kudos” you were handing out for those who start the hike early, but had no problem summiting by 1:00. We were pleasantly surprised that a good trail existed all the way to the upper basin of Kilgore Creek. Fortunately, we did not start any later, however, since we were quickly chased-off the mountain by a chan of thunderstorms blowing in from the southwest. The views from the top were spectacular, but for me the highlight of the trip was before the summit, at the spot where the trail traverses a red rock outcrop just below Kilgore Creek Falls. The views there of the double falls and up the headwall to the south are glorious!

MOUNT LEIDY – Janet Etzkorn (from Jackson) and I did Mount Leidy on August 7, 2005. This was an easy, short hike I planed for the morning of my last day in the GYE (I had to drive to Evanston that evening and catch a plane out of SLC the next morning). I’d have hiked Mt Leidy before if I’d known about the good road to Leidy Lake. It’s a great example of how the Select Peaks book has opened-up a lot of new terrain and given great hiking ideas, even to those of us who think we know the GYE fairly well. Just one note about Mt Leidy, it has great cell-phone coverage. I never take along such things, but Janet was able to call her husband, who was headed to Sturgis, SD with a number of other Jackson bikers.

Can't wait for next summer, to bag a few more Select Peaks!

--Tom Carter :D
Site Admin
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 11:02 am


Post by TomTuriano »

Hi Tom,

Thanks so much for the kind comments about "Select Peaks" as well as your great trip reports on Lone, Monument, Hoback, and Leidy.

I really enjoy reading about others' experiences in the hills around here...great to hear other perspectives. Please keep them coming!

Thomas Turiano
Post Reply