Teton County Highpoint Trip Report

Rocky Mountain (9,392 feet)

Date: August 8, 2008
Author: Adam Helman

This effort is part of a larger journey collecting Montana and Idaho county highpoints in August 2008.

Overall the climb until one leaves the trail is a Class 1 hike (just beyond Headquarters Creek Pass). From there to the 8,360-8,400 foot saddle just west of Rocky Mountain it is a simple talus scramble; and beyond that, well, read on.

The climbing route inside the obvious gully just above the aforementioned saddle is steep and difficult above the scree pile at this gully's base. First, one must maneuver around a two-foot chockstone with upper body strength required. Then, if one veers slightly right, one must climb a sixty-degree slab with few foot placements for about twenty vertical feet. Veering left it appears that similar terrain exists.

It intimidates me to tackle this section completely alone - one that Bob Packard describes as involving "intense route finding". I do it anyway. It is perhaps best to avoid this section by taking any of several diagonal ramps with bases below and north of the cited saddle.

Above this crux portion the route is a Class 2 scree slog to the summit.

On the descent I veer right (northwest), leaving the gully and thus avoiding the tricky downclimb of both the aforementioned steep slab and passing the chockstone. I go down a series of tricky ramps, the slope never exceeding thirty degrees and yet with hands used often as a braking device.

One possible alternative is the mountain's east ridge, and this is readily accessed from the trail prior to its reaching Headquarters Creek Pass. No obvious cliff bands are evident; and I recommend future highpointers consider it to avoid the scree and crux section described.

I spot a herd of rams, possibly eighteen, at the saddle. While at the summit I look northwest towards Glacier National Park and my next goal - Mount Stimson.