Montana & Wyoming Mountain Climbing Trip
"Michael's Awesome Peaks"
August 4-11, 2018
Dave, Michael, John.

Several months ago, Michael had suggested an ambitious peak bagging road trip across Montana and Wyoming. Many of the peaks were obscure and unknown to us. When the time came for the trip, we were whittled down to a group of 3. Michael, John and I hit the road for 8 days of mountain climbing adventures. Amazingly, we met all of our goals. Along the way we summited 8 peaks in 8 days. Total mileage of 77 miles hiked, and 26,000 feet of elevation gain. Not to mention about 1600 miles of driving. The trip that Michael created had taken us up some amazing mountains, each area quite beautiful and unique in its own way. The "Michael's Awesome Peaks" trip was one for the ages. [Click the peak name below for details on each climb.] 

Hilgard Peak summit scramble. Hilgard Peak
Elevation: 11,316'
Range: Madison Range
Hilgard Peak is the tallest mountain in western Montana’s Madison Range. At 11,316’ in elevation, Hilgard is also that highest peak in Montana outside of the Beartooth’s. Hilgard is a rugged and remote peak. The summit can be reached in a long day hike, or as an excellent overnight backpack. This is a well-earned summit, with the crux being a challenging scramble up the craggy summit block.
Hollowtop Mountain approach hike. Hollowtop Mountain
Elevation: 10,604'
Range: Tobacco Root Mountains
Hollowtop Mountain is the tallest peak in the Tobacco Root Mountains of western Montana, located near the town of Pony. The range isn’t large, but is very scenic, and pretty much unknown to non-locals. But the locals seem to know they have a hidden gem, and Hollowtop sees quite a bit of traffic. The standard route approaches via Hollowtop Lake from the east. We took a shorter hike but more challenging 4WD drive from the north.
Crazy Peak southeast ridge Crazy Peak
Elevation: 11,209'
Range: Crazy Mountains
Aptly named Crazy Peak is located in the Crazy Mountains of south-central Montana. Crazy Peak is the highpoint of the range, and is the most “topographically prominent” mountain in all of Montana. The peak is crazy peak and rugged, and definitely a worthy mountain climbing destination. Most approach from the north, we tackled a lesser used route up the southeast ridge.
Cloud Peak summit view Cloud Peak
Elevation: 13,167'
Range: Bighorn Mountains
Cloud Peak is located in central Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains, and is the centerpiece of its namesake Cloud Peak Wilderness area. Cloud Peak also happens to be the second most “topographically prominent” mountain in all of Wyoming. Cloud Peak is surrounded by some amazing alpine terrain, and is a popular destination for backpackers, hikers and climbers. Most will climb Cloud Peak as an overnight backpacking trip, but it is regularly done as a long day hike as well.
Francs Peak Grizzly Bears Francs Peak
Elevation: 13,153'
Range: Lost River
Francs Peak is the highest mountain in Wyoming’s Absaroka Range, and the only one taller than 13,000 feet. Folks come to climb Francs because of its 13er status, over 4000 feet of prominence, and a chance to see grizzly bears (really). There are a few different approaches used to climb the mountain, the shortest of which is via the Phelps Mountain 4WD road from the north.
Mount Jefferson Mount Jefferson
Elevation: 10,203'
Range: Centennial Mountains
Mount Jefferson is located in the Centennial Mountains, on the continental divide between Idaho and Montana. Jefferson is the highest peak in the Centennials, a small range just west of Yellowstone National Park. It also boasts over 3000 of prominence, so the summit views are very good. This is a scenic area, most easily accessed from a trailhead on the Idaho side, via Sawtell Mountain Road.

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