Saturday, August 15, 2009

Seminal Climbs: Granite Peak

Granite Peak, the highest point in Montana, had been calling my name for some time. I was still a novice climber (hell, I still am), but I had learned just enough to peak my interest in remote alpine objectives ... and just enough to be dangerous.

Granite Peak, 12,799 feet.
I had originally planned to climb Granite with my girlfriend, but by the time I was ready to start working on logistics and buy the plane tickets, she had become my ex girlfriend. I knew it would be futile to find a trustworthy partner on such short notice, so I didn't even try. Instead, I resigned myself to climbing it solo and considered it something of a penance for my sins against womankind.

My excitement grew as the departure date got closer. I was in good shape, I hadn't bought a pack of smokes in over a year, and my climbing had progressed by leaps and bounds over the summer. The climb would be a challenge for me, no doubt, but I was ready for it. It had been a difficult summer personally, and I was looking forward to some time alone and a good adventure to clear my head and consolidate the life lessons I had learned over the past few months.

I arrived in Bozeman to pleasant weather. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the mountains. There was rain, hail, and high winds in the Beartooths (Bearteeth?). The weather was "icing" me--I'd have to wait it out in Bozeman, just me and my nerves. This ended up being quite pleasant. Bozeman is a terrific town, with an eclectic mix of citizens. In fact, Bozeman may be the only place in these United States where you can drink a craft micro brew while conversing with a cattle rancher, a college professor, and a ski lift operator, and then buy a dime bag from any one of them. I had no problem relaxing while I waited for more stable weather, which was a good thing, because I had to wait for three days.