American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Montana, Crazy Peak, North Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Crazy Peak, North Face. On June 13, Paul Richer and I hiked into Big Timber Canyon to climb the north face of Crazy Peak. Access is through Half Moon campground (24 miles northeast of Big Timber). Two and a quarter miles of easy hiking brings one to a second bridge. Do not cross the bridge; instead, head left into the trees and uphill to the right. Eventually, the north face of Crazy Peak will come into view above treeline.

Our north face route takes a direct line up the face, slightly left of a main wide chute and a rockband at mid-height. Below the rock band the snow angle is 40 to 45°. The second third of the route involves low angle snow (less than 50°) and 5th-class rock through chimneys and slabs (5.6). Up to that point the climbing was enjoyable and fun. The last third of the face was the crux: loose and unconsolidated 65° snow.

The route tops out on a knife-edged ridge (4th to 5th class rock). Down climbing is necessary to reach the final chute, which leads to the summit of Crazy Peak (11,214'). The Richer-Gallagher route (a.k.a. Stoker-Goo, 5.6 AI4) was about 2,500 feet long and technically committing. Gear was sparse in the upper third of the route. Fall/winter would produce excellent snow conditions and better protection. I would highly recommend this range for further possibilities.

John Gallagher

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