Soaring to a dizzying height of 12,500 feet, Silver Run Peak stands last in a line of six Montana peaks which rise to at least that height or above. If you want to see some of the oldest rock on earth, come here. Silver Run’s most characteristic feature is a beautiful, vertically exposed pillar of four-billion-year-old granite. This rock is commonly found in the Beartooths, and is said to be about 20 times the age of the half-domes found in Yosemite Valley!
Silver Run actually has twin summits that pierce the sky at nearly identical heights. Standing on the lofty west summit, one can appreciate expansive views of the Beartooth range dropping into the impressive West Fork Valley some 4,000 feet below.
Although a select few rock climbers might choose a direct line up this mighty pillar to reach the summit, we took a much easier hiking route up from Timberline Lake across the north side of the expansive Silver Run Plateau, a fabulously scenic ecosystem dominated by sprawling alpine tundra, snow, and sky.
Pictured here during various times of the year, the tundra changes colors with the seasons, evolving from lush green soon after the July snowmelt, rusting to August orange by late summer, on to hues of red brought on by September’s frost. This is the home of the rare Arctic Gentian wildflower, whose late summer bloom foreshadows the coming of Fall and the return of Winter’s snow.
- Photo of the Week: September 10, 2012 (jeffhandlinblog.wordpress.com)
- Focusing on the A-B: Red Lodge Photographer’s in new book on mountain ranges (Billingsgazette.com)