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Foxtrot – 5.5 – Gallatin Canyon – Montana

Climbing Foxtrot in the Gallatin Canyon

Foxtrot is a 5.5 trad climb located in the Gallatin Canyon. The route works up the river facing prow of the Pineapple Buttress. It’s located on the the east side gneiss formations of the Gallatin Canyon near the 35 MPH Bridge on Highway 191.

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Pineapple Buttress Rise Above The Trees

Based on a bit of research, it is actually quite hard to find a detailed description of this route. The river facing section of the Pineapple Buttress is massive and there are plenty of good cracks to climb. This route is often avoided due to it’s low ranking, but it’s a great first time lead or lazy autumn adventure.

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Approaching Pineapple Buttress

It’s been established that the route descriptions are beautifully vague. Most descriptions call this a 2 pitch 200’+ route with an easy walk off near some trees on the south side that is well below the top of Pinapple Buttress. This being said, it’s safe to assume that Jeremy Wood and I climbed a variation of Foxtrot because our route was slightly different and a bit harder than 5.5, but not much.

Below is a description of our adventure climbing Foxtrot in the Gallatin Canyon…

After scouring the river facing section, we identified a belay sling left on a tree and began to climb below this point. The first pitch was dirty and slick. Gneiss covered in moss and pine needles makes even a 5.5 a bit sketchy. The pitch ended at a massive ledge near the right side of the buttress. It is about 70 feet up.

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Pitch 1 on Foxtrot

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Our Pitch 1

foxtrot gallatin canyon

A Variation Of Foxtrot’s Dirty Pitch 1

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Looking Down Pitch 1

Looking up from the ledge, there are multiple chimneys and cracks to choose from. We worked out to the left side of the buttress where a we had a nice selection of routes to climb. This is a long pitch and could easily be 200′ by itself.

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Massive Belay Ledge At Top Of Pitch 1

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Looking Toward Pitch 2

The climbing on pitch 2 was relatively easy as long as you avoided some of the loose, rotten rock. Basketball size boulders teetering on edges and flakes that felt like they were velcro-ed on helped to up the intensity on this 5.5 route. Jeremy managed to rip out a large flake while on top rope. Sketchy.

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Looking Down Pitch 2

After a long pitch, rope drag became an issue, but eventually we worked right near a massive tree. It took a bit of creativity to build an anchor.  From here we expected a walkoff, but realized that was impossible, so we opted for a mellow third pitch. Maybe we went too high compared to other Foxtrot adventurers.

The third pitch follows a beauty of a crack about 30 feet. This pitch reached the top of Pineapple Buttress. There were 3 sets of bolts and chains there for other climbing routes like Pineapple Thunderpussy. From here there were spectacular views of The Waltz and Skyline.

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Jeremy Leading Pitch 3

foxtrot gallatin canyon

Looking Down Pitch 3

From here there is a walkoff to the East on the south side of the remaining rock. It is a bit exposed, but there are strong trees to grab as you pass these sections. A climber’s trail leads back to the base of the Pineapple Buttress. Looking up at Pineapple Buttress on the way down, we did not see another walkoff, but it is possible we missed it.

foxtrot gallatin canyon

The Final Belay At Top Of Buttress

foxtrot gallatin canyon

The Top Of Pineapple Buttress

foxtrot gallatin canyon

The Somewhat Sketchy Walkoff

Overall the Foxtrot Variation that we climbed was a fun 5.5 adventure. In comparison, it is harder than the first pitch of the Watchtower which is rated 5.5 also. Go figure. With a dirty pitch 1, a loose pitch 2, an unexpected pitch 3, and challenging route finding, I’m not sure if I will climb this route again, but it’s fun to do once.

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Here are some additional photos from climbing Foxtrot:

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This climbing trip report for Foxtrot in the Gallatin Canyon is from October 14, 2014.