top of page

Pilot Peak

Standing high above Cooke City and the Clarks Fork Valley, Pilot Peak and its neighbor, Index Peak, are unforgettable for those who have passed through this region on highway 212. Complex and challenging, Pilot Peak is in its own class for must-do climbs in the region. For these same reasons, it is rarely attempted despite its iconic stature. Join us on a 3-day adventure to the summit of Yellowstone’s Matterhorn!


Beginner to intermediate; 5.7 climbing ability, experience backpacking required


Ability to carry 50 lb pack for 3 days



July to September

Group Size:

1-2 participants


3 days, 2 nights in the mountains


Cooke City, MT


Rental equipment, group cooking equipment, & instruction from a professional guide 


Food, transportation, lodging, personal items, and guide gratuity


Pilot Peak is a unique glacial horn feature near the Montana/Wyoming border, just outside the NE entrance of Yellowstone. Standing at 11,699’ with a prominence of nearly 2,500’, the summit feature is hard to miss from any angle. It was first climbed in 1932 by the same general route that many climbers use today. Although notable for its poor rock quality and complex route finding, the climb can be safe and moderate with the correct navigation. 


Although Pilot is best seen from the East, it is easiest approached from the Northwest out of Cooke City. Starting on Woody Creek and eventually turning up Hayden Creek, the approach hike is direct to camp and provides easy access to the upper mountain. The summit contains multiple traverses on ledge systems to connect the path of least resistance up the steep upper flanks. Some sections of this require climbing up to 5.7.


Mountain Guide Akio Joy

Akio Joy

Aki grew up in the small town of Placerville, California. Early on, he was introduced to climbing & skiing in the Sierra Nevada foothills. At 17, he moved to Montana and started guiding... Read More

Mountain Guide Anju Samuelson

Anju Samuelson

Anju Samuelson grew up in Berlin, Germany and lived in Turkey, Chile and the USA. She has been climbing for 8 years all over Europe, the US and South America. Her passion is to explore cultures through...

Read More

Mountain Guide Austin Hart

Austin Hart

Austin has 15 years climbing, skiing, mountaineering and guiding in Montana, Wyoming and Washington with expedition experience in South America, Antarctica, Canada and Africa. He is a also...

Read More

bottom of page