A classic peak climbing objective in Big Sky.
Alpine Climbing Easy
- 9 km
- 1.1 km
- 1.1 km
- Low Point
- 2.3 km
- High Point
- 3.4 km
Even though it might appear to be close at hand, climbing Lone Mountain is no small challenge. Bagging the summit from the Big Sky base village requires a whopping 3,600 vertical feet of climbing in just 2.8 miles (one-way).
Unfortunately, Lone Mountain doesn't offer the same wilderness appeal as other peaks in the Madison range. Big Sky Resort has installed a tram that runs all the way to the peak of Lone Mountain. However, if you plan ahead, this tram gives you the option of riding back down, which could save some wear and tear on your knees.
The climb to the summit begins on moderate singletrack trails running through the lower reaches of the ski resort. There are several different trails available here, but you'll want to make your way to the top of the Swiftcurrent chairlift, where the main ascent to the summit begins. Some hikers will opt to ride up the Swiftcurrent lift and begin hiking there.
To reach the climb up the southeast ridge, head through the Bone Crusher gate. From here, "the trail ascends steadily through a grove of dead trees and soon enters a talus field," according to MountainJourney.com. "Herds of people and probably a few mountain goats have established obvious routes through the loose rock," they continue.
Once on the southeast ridge, the trail gets dramatically exposed as it ascends directly up the spine of the mountain. While the climb is considered a non-technical peak climbing objective, the upper sections are pretty damned exposed. A fall from here could prove deadly. One section in particular is exceedingly narrow and exposed, but this crux section only lasts for a few hundred feet.
Eventually, you'll gain the summit of Lone Mountain! Don't be surprised if you're greeted by a crowd of tourists that paid for a ride to the top in the tram.
The Big Sky area is renowned as prime grizzly bear country. Signs at every trailhead warn that bears are highly active in the area. To mitigate the risk of bear encounters, make plenty of noise while hiking, try to hike with a group of people, and consider attaching a bear bell to your backpack. Also, make certain that you carry bear spray with you every time you hike, in case you do get into an encounter with a grizzly.
The ascent involves simple glacier hiking and/or short, straightforward rock scrambles. Equivalent to Alpine F, F+