Summer (n): In Montana, the time of year when the temperature regularly breaks 25*. This is usually between July 5-9, but may extend out to Labor Day, if it's a good year. Since the Treasure State lies so close to the frozen tundra of Canadia, snow is always in the forecast.
Unfortunately, Stone Hill is about the only place with solid rock in Northwest Montana. You can thank Mother Nature for the freeze-thaw cycle; it's not too easy on MT rock. Fortunately, there are enough routes here to keep you busy and entertained for weeks. I believe ratings range from 5.6 to 5.12 (please correct me if I'm wrong) sport & trad. The setting here is picturesque, as the Highway of Love winds around lake Koocanusa (Kootenai + Canada + USA), which means the lakeview, along with plenty of tree covered mountains, isn't anything to complain about. The approaches may deter some people though. Most hikes from car to crag are unbearably long. Bring plenty of beer, err I mean water, to keep yourself hydrated.
15 miles SW of Eureka, MT on Highway 37, along the Koocanusa Reservoir. Strange name, but pretty logical if you know your geography.
I'm working on posting routes for this area and Kila Crags. Feel free to message me if you are wondering about the climbing in this area... Believe it or not - There is climbing in Montana! I'm just excited to it finally made it as a destination (it was under *In Progress for so long)!
We used to climb at StoneHills just about any month of the year. Even in Sept/Oct... the warm S & W exposure gave many nice routes when the weather permitted. I remember even climbing (very infrequently) in late Jan./early Feb - obviously the skiing must have been the shits, for me to search out the very few (warm?)climbs that were possible. But hey... there are also a few nice ice-seeps that form up then for those who want some ice and mixed climbs By March... (again, on days when I needed a break from skiing) many climbs started to get in shape... and the wood ticks were waking up... and they were very hungry for returning climbers. By mid-summer... it was time to start climbing early and late in the day... with long mid-day breaks swimming in the lake and drinking cold beers. Hey... somebody's gotta do it???
For most people going to Stone Hill the first time. There is enough climbing to be had right on the road. The long approach applies only if you climb there a lot, or there is a climb that has peeked your interest.
Went to the area last summer, was suprised how much rock was out there (must be at least a couple hundred in the guidebook). The best part was that in the morning the east side of the lake was in shade, when it got hot there we went swimming and then in the afternoon the routes on the west side were in the shadows.
can pretty much camp anywhere around Koocanusa. There is a semi-developed site south of the bridge and main crags a few miles, right along the lakeshore. there is also camp 32 north of the bridge a few miles.
For sport climbs, some of the best routes were right off of the road, 3 miles south of the Koocanusa bridge. The guide book can be purchased via phone or at the Rocky Mountain outfitters. The guys there were helpful. Enjoy the climbing. The blast holes make for some interesting holds on the sport climbs