I had been eying Gallatin Peak for a few years. It is the largest peak visible from Bozeman and looked to be a great peak to ski. With the huge snowpack this spring, I finally got the chance to climb and ski it this past weekend (6/15/08). It’s quite a haul to get in, but the ski descent made it well worth the trip.
The approach from the North Fork trail head was a very long skin in. It probably totals about 9 miles into Bear Basin, where we made camp, and another 3 miles to the summit. Other parties we ran into were skinning in from the Beehive Basin Trail Head to climb the peak as a day trip. In hindsight this appears to be the wise choice.
The route is pretty straight forward from the North Fork Trail Head. The trail begins at 7179’ and descends about 100’ in a half mile to intersect a subdivision. Unfortunately, there is no parking allowed at this intersection. The trail is well built for the next mile and half. After two miles a hiking bridge is crossed over the North Fork River. A well blazed trail continues for another mile until it intersects with the Beehive Basin Trail No. 402. It appeared that the skin track to Beehive Basin was actually about a half mile north of the actual trail. The North Fork trail becomes thinly marked at this point. Just follow the river generally north. The key is to round Mt. 9385 on the west side of the river. After this point continue up Bear Basin. The skin track over the divide breaks off well before (half mile) before the charted trail switchbacks up the divide. After that we skied a wonderful 800’ into the Hell Roaring basin and made our way to the base of the climb just right of the prominent rock buttress on the south face.
We skinned the first thousand feet of the climb before throwing our skis on our packs and kicking steps up to a well defined saddle. From the saddle we climbed the east facing snow field to the summit. This was the steepest part of the climb (~50°). The slope mellows a bit to about 35° for the final 200 feet to the summit.
We skied the same line we climbed due to wet slide danger on the south facing bowl.
IV 50° (Class 3 in Summer) (via North Fork) III 50° (Class 3 in Summer) (via Beehive Basin)