FKT: Will Porter - Granite Peak (MT) - 2016-08-09

Route variation
Mystic Lake TH, car-to-car
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
5h 24m 54s

On August 1, 2014, Dan Kraft and Andrew Wagner did the ascent from East Rosebud (same route as Hayes) in 3h24m and round trip of 8h59m, as reported below. Shortly after, on September 22, 2014, Jeff Rome did the ascent in 4h45m and the round trip in "a bit over 9 hours". Finally, a new car-to-car FKT was set by Will Porter on August 9, 2016. Porter used the far shorter West Rosebud approach, which seems to be around 18 miles RT vs. 26 for East Rosebud, and completed the out & back route in 5h24m54s (3h5m ascent). He gives an exciting blow-by-blow report below, along with a link to his GPS track.


Dan Kraft's account:

On August 1st, 2014, Andrew Wagner and myself made an attempt on Granite Peak. Though we had no thoughts of running Sid's time, we were hopeful that a roundtrip time of 8 hours could be accomplished. We ended up posting an 8:59 total time. Here is the gps for the first 7+ hours :


Courney Pace's post:

On 8-31-15 I did granite car to car from west rosebud in 7:49:05.


Will Porter's report:

On August 9, 2016 I, Will Porter, ran Granite Peak from West Rosebud Trailhead in 5:24:54 roundtrip. Strava:

Wordy trip report:

I didn't see 5h30m happening for me on the route Hayes took from East Rosebud or the trail up to FDT from West Rosebud. It would take a lot of fast miles over FDT Plateau: part tundra, part talus, and a lot of zig-zagging and wandering around from the looks of others GPS tracks. This looked to be the biggest time sink. A lot of time and energy could be wasted trying to find the right line over to Tempest. I needed to minimize the amount of time spent on the plateau. The North finger of the plateau looked to get pretty close to Mystic Lake and the trail, except for the 2300'-vertical bushwhack. I pored over Google Earth but the imagery just wasn't good enough to tell exactly what the vegetation was like or if there were any rock bands that would inhibit access. I would just have to scout that part of the route a day or two before my attempt to see if it would go. I drew up maps and started figuring distances and paces to break 5h30m. My route looked to be less than 18mi, a full 7mi shorter than the Phantom Creek route and with more straightforward navigation.

I woke up on Tuesday to a little bit of rain on my tent but when I got out I saw it was just a small passing cloud. I hoped the weather would hold for the morning at least. I cooked some oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries and drove up to the trailhead. I had a waistpack with about 900 calories, an empty 20oz bottle, and a windbreaker. I started at around 7:30am and made good time on the trail up to the lake, more than 2 minutes faster than the previous days: 27:30 I continued to cruise over to Fish Creek, feeling good and happy with my split there as well, 37m. I filled my bottle and headed up the small rockpile that I had scouted on Sunday. Then I dove into the thick trees and brush and climbed, sometimes on all fours. When I had a spare breath I called "Hey bear!" as I waded through blueberry and raspberry bushes; grizzly country. I made my way through the stunted pines up to the upper gully that tops out at the plateau, which turned out to be more loose scree than I thought. Not so great for climbing up. I hit the plateau and did my best to maintain a straight course for what I thought was the direction of Tempest. I was just a tab bit off and but the shoulder of Tempest came quickly. I headed down to the saddle which was more rock-hopping. The rocks here were pretty loose and large which made for poor footing and moving slower than I wanted. I left my pack and bottle at the saddle and took my windbreaker and a snack and headed up the talus towards Granite. I made short work of the lower 3rd class boulders and came to the infamous snowbridge, which was melted and I could just walk across on rock. After the first few chimneys I ran into a few different parties climbing on the upper part of the mountain. I slipped by them in a few places and found different routes in others, definitely finding some harder 5th class climbing. Soon enough I was on the summit in 3:05. I stood on the summit boulder and admired the views and the exposed north face of the mountain. I was about the 10th person to sign the register that day with more people coming up behind me. Definitely more crowded than I thought it would be for a Tuesday. I only spent a few minutes on the summit and was heading down at 3:08. I was able to slip past the climbing parties again and stuck to the standard 4th class route. Back down the 3rd class boulders, failed at a snow glissade, talked to a pair of identical runners from Billings, and got back to my pack. The rock-hopping back up to the plateau took longer than I wanted and I had trouble keeping a running rhythm on FTD plateau. I was ahead of my projected summit time of 3:10, but now it seemed time was slipping away from me. I knew I had to just keep moving as fast as I could along the boulders and then I would just need to crush the bushwhacking descent. The race was on. While all day I was definitely pushing but not going all out, it was now time to put the pedal to the metal. I tried my best to keep running along the talus until I got to the top of the scree chute at around 4:33. Uh oh. I had less than an hour to descend 2300' of bushwhacking, then run 3.75mi of trail while dropping another 1300'. Here we go! I literally jumped into the scree and sent rocks flying while just trying to stay upright. I was losing elevation fast and loving it. I kept pushing through the stunted pines, across another boulderfield, down into the blueberries and down into the thick pines where I slipped and grabbed trees and just tried not to completely fall down the mountain. I hit some thicker bushes and looked for a way to avoid them. I saw an opening to my left. It was the rockpile that leads to the trail! Great! I was faster than I thought. 4:57 to the trail, a 24 minute descent. I grabbed some more water at the trail from Fish Creek and started running. Real running, opening it up and trying to pretend that I didn't just destroy my legs for the previous 5 hours. I got up to the top of the trail by the dam at 5:07:30. Ok. 2.5 miles downhill in 22:30. This is doable, but no mistakes. Still gotta push. I was totally focused. I knew that if I wasn't totally alert I would catch a toe and it would be over. I was totally in the zone and loving it. Flying down the trail, from rock to rock with more little rocks in my shoes from scree-skiing, punishing the soles of my feet. No time to dump my shoes out. Just gotta suck it up if I want the record. Past the Wilderness Boundary sign, over the bridge with .9 miles left, past the creek, too afraid to look at my watch. The last few turns of trail that I envisioned myself sprinting through in the days prior to beat the clock, here I was. Over the last bridge and down the dirt road. I hit the gate at the trailhead and stopped my watch. I had done it. I lay down in the grass. There was so much sand and rock in my shoes that it looked like an insole. My hands, arms, and legs were scratched and bleeding from flying down through the pine trees. Now I could rest.

This was my first go at this peak and this route, so I hope that I could do it faster. I know that many people out there can run this much faster than me, and I'm looking forward to following those efforts!

Dam: 27:30
Fish Creek: 37m
Top of Gully: 1h22m
Summit: 3h5m
Top of Gully: 4h33m
Fish Creek: 4h57m
Dam: 5:07:30
Finish: 5:24:54