Montana Outdoors

July 8, 2008

Penrose Peak, Part 2

The question many may ask when they see my posts about the hike to the top of Penrose Peak is,”why?”. It’s a very personal thing, but my answer can be seen in this photo and others that I will post later:

From the top of Penrose (7073 ft.).

From the top of Penrose Peak.

It’s my feeling that mountains, to be truly appreciated, must be seen from high places. To see such a vast area of western Montana’s wild country from a vantage point like this is worth the nine mile hike it took to get here, a hike which involved about nine hours on the trail and a combined vertical climb of over three thousand feet. If this peak gets two visitors in a year that would be considered heavy traffic.

This photo was taken facing roughly northeast just about directly over the route that the trail takes. The small town of Plains lies in the valley at the right center 12 miles away. (It was from there that the first photo in my previous post was taken.) The tall peak at the skyline to the left is 7,464 foot Baldy Mountain which sits within the Baldy Mountain roadless area at 19 miles. Very dimly visible at the skyline at the top center of the photo just below the line of clouds and 50 miles in the distance are the Mission Mountains. (Distances are air miles or line-of-sight.)


  1. If you have to ask why someone would take themselves to the top of a mountain like that, then it isn’t the thing for you.

    I just wonder why they didn’t invite me along.


    Comment by Chris Osborne — July 8, 2008 @ 11:45 am

  2. I know what you mean, Chris, but I know a lot of folks who live in this area and they all know where Penrose is but not one of them has ever been there.


    Comment by montucky — July 8, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  3. Wow…I want a little tiny rock from up there now…except I do not want to deface nature. It is breathtakingly beautiful up there.


    Comment by Tabbie — July 8, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

  4. That’s an interesting comment, Tabbie. In fact, I did bring back a small rock for my wife, as I sometimes do. That mountain is 7,000 feet of rock and it won’t miss one small one. I also brought back a nail from the ruins of lookout at the top (there’s nothing left but the rock walls of the old lookout). I will post a bunch of photos taken from the very top in another day or two. It is indeed breathtaking up there!


    Comment by montucky — July 8, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  5. WOW!! I don’t even know what to say! WOW!

    it’s incredible up there, and it’s incredible that you hiked twelve hours!!


    Comment by silken — July 8, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  6. That’s just a preview of some of the scenes from up on top, silken. There’s no way to describe the feeling of just being there, totally alone, in all of that raw beauty. That’s where you truly get the feel of the wild country! You will see why I think it’s worth the effort when I post more of those photos.

    Yeah, the 12 hours was a bit much. I did notice that when I got back I had lost ten pounds in a little over 24 hours. When I take my dog for a very long or arduous walk she will lie on her bed and just pant for a couple days. I think I might do the same.


    Comment by montucky — July 8, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  7. Our mountains here in the Adirondacks top at just over 5,000′. You were starting your hike higher than that! The Ancient Adirondacks have been worn down by glaciers. your pics from the top of that peak are breathtaking, a view hikers here do not get. Do you ever worry about an injury when on such a remote solo hike?


    Comment by Cedar — July 9, 2008 @ 6:04 am

  8. These mountains are really not tall compared to many in the northwest, but seem to be relative to the valleys which are only about 2,500 feet. There sure is a difference in breathing though in the higher elevations!

    The Rockies are “new” mountains and you can see how sharp the tops are in some of the photos I will post later, especially in my own favorite photo from the peak.

    Anyone who travels alone in the back country has to be experienced, confident, self-reliant and reasonably careful to avoid problems. An injury could be a big problem and easily a fatal one, but I’m much safer in the wilderness than I would be driving on most of our country’s freeways. The dangerous part is when I get on the highway to return home.


    Comment by montucky — July 9, 2008 @ 7:28 am

  9. Oh, Montucky, that’s just gorgeous! I can absolutely understand why you want to climb those gorgeous mountains and see what they see.

    When I get out there, I’m going to have to start working on my endurance, so that I can hike to those beautiful places and feel the wonder of them.

    I’m really looking forward to more of your photos!


    Comment by Sara — July 9, 2008 @ 7:34 am

  10. Working on your endurance is a good idea. I started to get serious about conditioning at the beginning of last year by hiking 6 miles at least every other day. I ended the year with a total of 1,300 miles and have kept up the pace fairly well this year (I’m at 620 miles now). It’s incredible how much difference that has made!

    The best of the photos will be up in a couple more days.


    Comment by montucky — July 9, 2008 @ 11:22 am

  11. I take it you still have snow up there, that is amazing, along with your images !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — July 10, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  12. Near the peak, on the sheltered side the snow banks were 15 – 20 feet deep, although not very extensive.


    Comment by montucky — July 10, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

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