Montana’s version of El Capitan (9,983’) is located west-southwest of Lake Como. This massif is a much sought-after destination by many locals. Because it’s located far from any trailhead and bushwhacking is required during any approach, only a relatively small number have stood upon its summit.

This mountain has experienced ascents at all times of the year and from many directions. However, the most-used routes approach the summit along the southeast ridge.

As popular as this mountain is, it’s only been during the past few years that successful attempts have been made to ski the extremely steep east face.

The best way begins at the Little Rock Creek Trailhead and follows the long-established trail to Little Rock Creek Lake. Go around the north side of the lake, using trails where they can be found, then bushwhack southwest up the canyon to the small lakes at the base of El Capitan. Scramble (Class 3) on a mix of boulders, talus, and scree up the southernmost couloir to the crest of the southeast ridge. Continue west-southwest along the ridge-crest to the summit block.

—Michael Hoyt


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