I went up to Hollowtop Mountain yesterday, mostly just for a fun peak/hike, but also to see what kind of rock was visible from the highest peak in the Tobacco Roots. The views didn’t disapoint… Here’s the canyon that caught my eye.
Unfortunately there is no easy way to get here. From Bozeman, it’s a 1.5hr drive and probably a tough 2 hour hike (maybe a little less). I’m hoping to hike in sans pad next week and see how good it looks from the ground. If it looks good, I’d like to do an overnighter over labor day weekend so I could have a full day of climbing. More photos to come…
Nice looking stone Erik. After looking at the pics and knowing your location, I’ve determined that the lakes in the background of your first shot are Hollowtop Lake, Deep Lake, and Skytop Lake(the closest)….there is actually a trail that goes to Hollowtop Lake (~6-7 miles into the lake) and you can ATV/moto up the trail legally according to the interweb…might be a descent option for the approach….
Yeah, I think you can take a 4-wheeler to Hollowtop Lake. I’m guessing that’s where the ATV trail ends. On foot, I think it would be easier to approach from Lower Mason Lake. From there it would be a relatively easy 2 miles on a trail, then 1-2 miles off trail. Hopefully, it’s as good as I hope, but I think it’s going to be mostly small stuff.
I’m looking to hike Hollowtop this upcoming weekend. Any tips on the best route? I see that most research shows the more popular route is via Hollowtop lake but is longer. Shorter via Mason Lake, but is it navigable to the top of Hollowtop?
Hey Abbey! I went up via Mason Lake. I can’t say if it was easier or shorter time-wise than Hollowtop Lake, but there wasn’t any nasty terrain. From Mason Lake I went generally west to a small unnamed Lake (you should be able to see it on aerial photos). I continued past the lake and past a small talus field (boulders just a little too small for bouldering) staying just north of both. On the far side of the talus field is a steep slope where I took a steep gully up to the ridge. The gully was the hardest part, but I don’t remember any scrambling or anything technical at all. I think I took the biggest most obvious gully, but I’m not 100% sure about that part. Once your on top you can follow the broad ridge south to the summit of Hollowtop. Hopefully there’s not too much snow up there! Also, you’ll want at least AWD with decent clearance (preferably 4WD with high clearance) to get to the parking area for Mason Lake.
I went through this section today. I started at N. Willow Creek, got to Hollowtop Lake, and then went straight up Horse Mtn. from there. Summitted Jefferson, then Hollowtop, and came down through the saddle between Jefferson and Hollowtop, past an unamed small lake, Skytop, Deep, and back to Hollowtop Lake.
That is some rough terrain. Not gonna lie, there are house sized boulders everywhere, and the lower part of the trail by Deep Lake has trees in the boulders as well. The trees thin out above Skytop Lake, and there is just incredible boulders from that point to just below the saddle.
I don’t boulder, but it struck me that this place would be climbing heaven. I noticed some evidence of climbers on a massive 100 foot wall criss crossed with cracks. All of it is a whitish granite with marble inclusions. I thought it was beautiful. I would plan way more than 2 hours to get to this spot. Coming from the top down, you’re looking at like 6 hours, and coming from the bottom to up (which I would think would be much tougher), You’re looking at 4 hours minimum.
I had to scramble across house sized rocks, and through super thick and prickly forest to get down from there. Imagine coming up that. But anyway, there are countless boulders absolutely filling that whole basin.
Thanks Eric! Yea, I’m not sure how much snow the TRoots got from this storm, but maybe it will be melted by this weekend for me to try to summit…