Liberty County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Brown in Sweet Grass Hills (6,958 ft)

Date: November 21, 2004
Author: Jerry Brekhus

We made the hike from Black Jack Road east of Whitlash. We parked at a hunter parking area located about at UTM coordinates Zone 12 (491000 E, 5417150 N) - NAD27 datum. We signed in at the gate, where a mailbox is provided with a book for hunters to sign in before walking in. Mount Brown is on state land. The State Lands Recreational Use License is $5 for those ages 12-17 and age 60 and older; for all others the license is $10. Check with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for the latest information.

This is a walk-in only hunting area and hunting season was open so we wore some bright orange clothing. Our hike started along a two-track road apparently used for ranch work. We followed the faint road 2 miles or so to where it ended at elevation 5,730 feet, 0.65 mile north-northeast of the summit. Here the terrain begins to change from hilly grassland to steep scree. There was no snow at this elevation, although we could see snow near the top. We made progress upward following game trails worn in the scree by long use. Fortunately, we found a trail that was good enough that it may have been manmade. In any case, it made travel easier to 6400 feet - UTM Zone 12 (490288 E, 5413495 N).

From there it was cross-country up Mt. Brown's northeast ridge to the snow-covered top in trees. I plan to climb neighboring county high point West Butte in a warmer season.

Views of the surrounding prairie are expansive on the way, but timber blocks the view from the actual summit.

Round-trip hiking statistics - distance 6-7 miles; elevation gain 2,890 ft (Avocet altimeter);
duration 5 hours including lingering at summit and snack break.

Summit GPS readings (NAD27) - Garmin etrex unit; zone 12U (489830 E, 5413303 N) at 6,978 ft.