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North America, United States, Montana, Granite Peak, North Face, Beartooth Mountains

Granite Peak, North Face, Beartooth Mountains. On July 12, William Chadwick and I climbed the north face of Granite Peak (12,799 feet). The approach from the Mystic Lake hydroelectric plant took 1½ days. We bypassed Huckleberry Lake to the east and after 4 miles of boulder hopping reached the large snowfield below the face. The large lake below the snowfield was also bypassed to the east. We began the ascent about 1:30 P.M. After an hour of easy step-kicking up the 30°– 45° snowfield (about 1500 vertical feet), we were at the base of the 1200- foot rock face, the large bergschrund having presented no problem. To avoid deep, soft snow on the face, we elected to attack the left (east) side of the middle pillar. Climbing was mostly moderate 5th-class rock interspersed with a few snow-filled couloirs and chimneys. By dark, we were still two leads from the summit and spent a chilly night on a small, slanting shelf watching the shooting stars and distant village lights. The next morning, Chad started a lead of artificial climbing which led up a slender, square-topped tower which forms the apex of the middle pillar, but after determining that we had insufficient hardware to complete it, he retreated, traversed east from our bivouac ledge, and negotiated a small overhang to a good belay spot. From there, I was able to work my way up and over left into the main couloir system, then up to the summit snowfield. The descent was made down the south face and east ridge via the standard route. Although the upper part of the face was climbed previously by Don Gordon (A.A.J., 1965, p. 418), we believe this to be the first direct ascent of the face. NCCS III, F7.