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Palace Butte Basin

Difficult
 2.3 (3)

Amazing area with everything you could want. Chutes, open bowls, gnarly lines and no one else around


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Map Key

3.9

Miles

6.3

KM

Ascent

9,346' 2,849 m

High

6,897' 2,102 m

Low

2,466' 752 m

Up

271' 83 m

Down

13%

Avg Slope (8°)

43%

Max Slope (23°)
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry

Description

Start at the Hyalite trailhead and head up for a few miles. Once you're right in between Palace Butte and Maid of the Mist mountain, you'll hit a little field, with a trail branch to the right. Many people cross the creek here, but I actually prefer to go about 150 yards further and cross at the next meadow. Once on the other side of the creek, follow it upstream for another 100 yards before you start heading uphill. If you start to head uphill too early (too far right) then it is fairly thick trees right out of the creek. Further left, where you want to go, it is more "gladed" and much easier going. The track on the map is fairly accurate.

Now head uphill out of Hyalite Creek. There will probably be a few skin tracks, but stick left. Right gets real steep and can get 'cliffy'. The GPS track on the map is fairly accurate.

If you nail the route then it's actually not bad, but if you get off track at all it is pretty heinous: steep, tightly treed, and lots of downed logs. This section is the reason that I think this route currently has several 1-star reviews. If you're not a good skinner, or the snow conditions are bad, or you get off route, this can be 1000 feet of swearing.

After the real steep trees, you'll come out on to some open meadows. With a bit easier climbing in and out of trees, you'll come out into the MotM basin.

There are some amazing mini areas down in the basin, or you can head up to the ridges for bigger stuff. Head up and right towards Swim Lake and there's a real easy ridge access. From there you'll have a mid-sized, but short chute to get into Palace Butte Basin. To exit, you can drop back west right by Alex Lowe peak, then do a quick-ish skin up to the saddle between Elephant and Blackmore. Don't try to take the ridge up to Elephant and then over to Blackmore, unless you've got ropes and some big balls. Or you can just go all the way back the way you came.

It should be mentioned that the Palace Butte basin is a hanging valley, and you shouldn't try to ski straight down to the trailhead. Some people bring ropes and rap out over Twin falls, a popular ice climbing area, and you could probably billygoat it out over around and above some cliffs, but I can't help you with that.

Shared By:

Colin Tuttle with improvements by Nick Crews

Trail Ratings

  2.3 from 3 votes

#497

Overall
  2.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
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3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
67%
Ascent Rankings

#45

in Montana

#497

Overall
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2,702 Since Mar 13, 2015
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Photos

Looking up the north part of MotM basin.
Mar 13, 2015 near Bozeman, MT

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