August 2010- Tom returned to the summit and found the brass plaques he’d placed in 2008.
September, 2013-Nearly six years after Richard’s death, his ashes were finally interred in Stillwater. The ashes were placed inside a block of granite, then lowered into the ground using the climbing rope from the 1999 trip. Richard’s ground marker bears the image of Granite Peak drawn from the photo in the top margin of the website. The ground markers for Tom and Aaron were also prepared and placed in advance with the same image--the image which has now become the logo for Granite House.
Granite House is named after Granite Peak, the highpoint of Montana. It carries a strong emotional significance to the Insley family, as it is marks the exact place and time where Tom shared one of the most eventful moments of the lives of each of his sons, Richard and Aaron, who both reached the summit with him on separate trips.
Granite Peak rises 12,977 feet in elevation and is located in the Beartooth- Absaroka Wilderness, south of Billings, Montana. Granite Peak is ranked as one of the most difficult climbs in the lower 48 states, because of the long approach, the frequent storms, and the “snow bridge”, a narrow ledge on which climbers must be roped in to ascend and descend safely.
August, 1990, near Bozeman, Montana.
Carol, Tom, Richard (6), Aaron (4) and Gretchen.
Over the last 30 years, Granite Peak has been a goal
which has not always been reached when attempted.
1984- Tom made it to the high camp and saw the summit. He and his climbing partner did not have ropes, so they did not attempt to climb through the snow bridge to the summit.
1987--Tom reached the summit for the first time
1990- Tom made it to the high camp with a friend, and turned back because his climbing partner was injured.
1994- The entire family hiked up to Mystic Lake with the boys for the first time when Richard was 10 and Aaron was 8. Tom and Richard hiked up farther, and Richard saw the Granite Peak range. Richard set a personal goal to climb Granite Peak.
August 1999- Richard and Tom reached the summit on August 23. Richard was 15. Three years later, this achievement was the topic of his senior speech, "Savor the Journey."
August 2007- Aaron and Tom reached the summit on August 23. Aaron was 21. Aaron, always a little overconfident, was feeling unprepared when they left the high camp for the roped-in segment of the summit ascent. He made it to the summit and celebrated. The boys’ accident was 3 months later.
August 2008- Tom and four other men made the climb and brought some of Richard’s ashes to the summit. He also brought brass plaques with the boys’ names and their summit dates and placed them under the table rock.
It wasn’t until Tom and Carol were making preparations for this trip, with the ashes, the plaques, and the words to be said at the summit, that they noticed that both of the boys had reached the summit on the same day—August 23rd. This day is now celebrated in their household as “Granite Peak Day.”
A family-focused long-term care residence
At the summit: Aaron and Tom, 2007
At the summit: Richard and Tom, 1999