SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.


» Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

 

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Topic: Beartooths Aug 18-24, The Two Flatlanders in Montana< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
PanatomicX Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 255
Joined: Jul. 2011
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 7:42 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Two Fatlanders, having grown tired of the endless back-and-forth about the Beartooths vs. the Winds, finally decided to settle the matter once and for all. So with the help of the great folks on the Rocky Mt section of the forum we planned a route. We also sent out an e-mail to some of the wimps (sorry, I mean our friends) in our bicycle club:

ACT NOW!! FREE LIMITED TIME OFFER!!
That's right-You have been selected to receive this FREE limited time offer of A FABULOUS TRIP TO MONTANA!  Join Mike and Joe for an amazing 7 night adventure in the beautiful Beartooth Mountains!! See pristine alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, magnificent snow-capped peaks, dramatic glaciers, and of course babbling brooks! Did I happen to mention that this trip is absolutely FREE!!! Thats right, you will not have to spend a nickel for your accommodations on the trail!!  And you will enjoy a delicious breakfast each morning before embarking on you wonderful days journey. Act fast as space is limited!  Airfare and transfers not included. This offer is not valid in Bellmore.

We put in that last part because we did not want Jeff to come-He is such a whiner!
But nobody took the bait, and in the end it was just the two of us. Joe flew into Bozeman a day before me, I wound up having to work on Friday.  But he managed to spend the 24hrs without getting himself arrested, and he picked me up in the rental car on Saturday. We drove to Red Lodge, stopping for lunch in Columbus. On arrival we headed straight over to 1-800-llamas-r-us.com, We had seen the llama packers last year in the Winds and thought it to be a smart idea. However, they could not find our reservation and we were out of luck. We would have to carry our packs once again. I guess I should have spent more time on BPL!

So we went to the outdoor store instead, to buy fuel cannisters, and soak up some local knowledge. The manager at the Yodeler motel directed us to a Mexican place at the edge of town in a white bus, so I dragged Joe over there for dinner. Pretty good.  We got an early start the next morning, still being on East Coast time. Had a great breakfast at Prindy's, and headed up the Beartooth Hiway to Cooke City. My friend Vinny had just done the Sturgis-Yellowstone trip on his motorcycle, and was very impressed. He was right, a real fun road to drive. Drove up Lulu Pass rd to the trailhead, and we were off. We planned a hike to Aero lake, and possibly a campsite at the North end. It would be a long day, but we figured if Pudgy Groundhog and Hawkinss could do it with a 70lb pack and a 2yr old, us scrubs could do it too!

Nice trail past Lady of the Lake, crossed Broadwater creek with no problem, and up Zimmer creek through fields of wildflowers. This was pretty neat! We spotted the cairn for Cardiac Hill, and up we went. Straight up! No stinkin switchbacks for us! As is usually the case, a great view when we finally got to the top. We took a break, and decided to press on. Kind of off trail now we made our way around the west side of Lower Aero, headed for the little inlet. And then all of a sudden we were there, a nice flat lawn, with waterfalls cascading from the cliffs opposite. We could have been in Rivendell. The only problem was that I had charged all the way up from 5500ft to about 10,000ft in one day, and I was feeling the altitude. Slight headache, slight upset stomach, so we just ate what we could and hung around the camp. Couldn't get to sleep, but when I finally did, at about 3, the mountain goats came down to visit. Seeing the white goats in the full moon was a bit eerie. Then about 4, when I had managed to fall asleep again I heard a loud ruckus, a goat had tripped over one of Joe's guylines and crashed into his tent. The tent stayed up, though, and we managed to get a few hours of sleep.

The next morning we fell into our backpacking routine-filter some water, get the stove going, make some oatmeal and coffee, pack up the camp. Our destination for the day was Rough Lake, so we followed the drainage up toward Upper Aero, forded the outlet stream, and made our way around the eastern shore. Usual spectacular view with the Villard Spires in the distance. We had to cross some snow, but it was easy to kick some side steps in. We wound up making the only wrong turn of the trip when we climbed up from the shore, we could not see around a corner, and did not think we could continue by the water. But we got cliffed out up high, and then noticed another hiker down low. A bit of trail magic-the only two people we saw those first two days were when we were at a turn, and both confirmed our route, this time up over the saddle between Upper Aero and Rough Lake. An easy climb, and as soon as we got to the top we looked across the lake and saw our next campsite-a nice grassy bench on a rise at the eastern shore. We went around the northern shore, over about 837 talus fields, and found ourselves at perfect campsite #2. I was feeling much better now, having finally acclimated, and dinner was very good. A smokey sky had developed about 4:00, and gave everything a reddish tinge. Our friends, the goats came over for a visit after dinner, Mom, Dad and the kid. They ran around up and down the hill for about 45min, while we watched the show.

We climbed up a rise behind the campsite in the morning, and were easily able to see the way to Skytop. We had to climb up at points, but we made it up the drainage and were soon at the Lake. Skytop is really stark, just rock and water. The way to Oly Lake was pretty obvious, and a very pretty little valley. Enjoying the walk on grass (at times), we passed several small tarns, and made our way down to the "V". Off trail hiking you're (at least I am) frequently concerned about the route, getting cliffed out, and looking down the V it sort of dropped right off. But a way down appeared, and it wasn't difficult at all. Beautiful meadows of wildflowers above Oly Lake, and another fantastic campsite. The sun was red, setting in the smokey western sky, and the moon was bright red too when it rose.

Back to the trail now. We figured we'd follow the outlet stream down to the Rosebud trail. There were cliffs on both sides of Oly Lake down to the water so we climbed a small rise on the SW side of the Lake and made our way down the stream. Oly Lake, the way down, the Lake itself, and the outlet, was one of the prettiest parts of the whole hike. As we arrived at the trail we ran into 4 guys from Skatch-wan (apparently that's how you're supposed to pronounce Saskatchewan, Skatch-wan, in two syllables). They were camped at Dewey and doing a daytrip to Fossil Lake. Our plan was to turn left at this point and hike over to Impasse Falls. The Rosebud trail was very nice, following the stream from Dewey Lake, to Twin Outlet Lake and Impasse falls. It was a very well maintained trail, and whenever we got to a talus field we found that the good folks from the USFS had kindly blasted a nice path through. What would have taken us 15-20 min off trail now could be hiked in 45 sec!  We very leisurely made our way down the trail, stopping frequently at the several beautiful falls along the way, and when we passed a particularly inviting little water hole, I could not resist, and stripped down to my underwear and jumped in. It felt real good, after 3 1/2 days on the trail. Impasse Falls was very dramatic, as was the trail cut into the Valley wall above Duggan Lake. We had thought about camping at Duggan, but there were no obvious sites, so we elected to backtrack to Dewey. (It's labeled Denny on the topo map but everyone refers to it as Dewey) There were many possible sites at the NW corner of the Lake and a little city of 4 tents, the guys from Saskatchewan. They invited us over for Happy Hour, but it began to rain. We hung out in the tents for about an hour, then came out to join them for dinner. Had some entertainment watching a couple of kids accomplish a bear hang on a really big cliff about 100 yds away. Dewey is also incredibly scenic, so we walked around the Lake a bit after dinner and took pictures. It was a bit different hanging around with other people at the campsite, after the complete isolation at Aero, Rough, and Oly. But I enjoy meeting people on the trail and chatting.

Off to Fizzle Lake the next day, along the pleasant rosebud trail, which even had switchbacks! What a clever idea! Around Fossil Lake, and we had lunch leaning up against a nice, shady boulder with an expansive view of Fizzle lake in front of us. We went to the top of a little rise behind us, and again spotted a place to camp. A couple of small, flat, grassy benches about 100yds up from the Lake and trail. It's funny, other folks spot these same places. Both our camps at Oly, Aero, and Fizzle, though appearing pristine at first, had small fire rings. We spent the afternoon relaxing, and climbing some of the small rises about the camp. I wrote in my journal, and at one point we were driven into our tents by biting flies, the only real bug problem the whole trip. It became overcast by evening, and rained pretty much all night.

It cleared up the next morning for our hike out. Down, down, down, on a real nice stretch of trail past Skull, Ouzel, and Russell Lake before we finally dropped into the woods. Amazing the time you can make on a real trail going downhill! We came out by the Chief Joseph campground, and had to yellow line it about 1 1/2 miles to Lulu Pass Rd. At that point we flipped a coin, and I was elected to walk up the dirt road, and fetch the car, while Joe stayed behind with the packs. 800ft of climbing, actually, but a pickup soon offered me a ride. As soon as I got to the trailhead, another pickup pulled up and the guy jumped out and greeted me-"Hey Mike! How're you doing!" As I was trying to figure out how this guy in Montana could possibly know me, Joe stuck his head up. He had gotten a ride too.

And that was it. Back to Cooke City, we stayed at a real rustic (but perfectly nice and clean) cabin at the Antlers. Shower, (but no shave-I wanted to scare my wife), then beer and burgers at the Cooke City Cafe. Had a good breakfast the next morning at the Bistro, then drove to Yellowstone to do the tourist thing for a day. Saw the Buffalo herds, Yellowstone Gorge and the falls, and some pretty cool Osprey nests. On our way out past Russell lake we had passed a woman and her dog who were headed up where we had just came from. Her remark at that point was "Boy, you guys look like you need a pizza and a beer". So the last night we went to the Miner's Saloon, and had an excellent pizza and some Red Lodge Amber.

We drove back through Yellowstone and up the Paradise Valley to Bozeman. We had UPS'd the 2 cans of bear spray to the motel before we got to Montana, and were planning to send them back the same way. But the UPS stores in Bozeman were closed, and we had a bit of a comedy routine with both of us trying to cram the box into the UPS bin at the airport. We were standing on the box trying to crush it a bit, but no go. The girl at the United desk already had about 15 cans at home she said, so we gave them to the first backpacker-appearing guy we saw at the airport. Good thing we did not put them in our checked bags, the TSA inspected my bag, they left a little card inside. They did find my extra camera battery though, which I had been looking for, and left it right on top!

Our second summer backpacking trip out West, following our Wind River trip last year. Two amazing places to which we shall surely return. 3 days offtrail this time, we did fine. I had the gps with me and frequently referred to it, but we really knew where we were the whole time, there is no mistaking that above treeline country!

A shout out again to all the folks on the forum who posted photos and trip reports, and who gave us advice. Thanks!
As to the answer to our original question-Well, we're not sure. May take us a couple of more trips to find out!

Photos:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/49650743@N04/sets/72157635272731599/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49650743@N04/sets/72157635373745518/
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 2
double cabin Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16701
Joined: Nov. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 8:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What an absolutely !@#$ing ugly place, why in hades would you want to go there?

In all seriousness EXQUISITE photography makes even Jer's Bearless teeth look awesome. You ever want to photograph great places in deeper wilderness you let me know. Great stuff, and yeah, great place,

John


--------------
We have nothing to fear but an industry of fear...and man skirts.

http://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=129511480442251
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 3
joebiker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 15
Joined: Mar. 2012
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 8:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Addenda to Mike's trip report;

(1) I actually did get arrested in Bozeman. I am innocent, I swear, of all 19 charges.

(2) Thanks for not mentioning that I screamed like a schoolgirl when the goat body-slammed my tent. That would have been embarassing.

(3) I am legally required to return to Montana next summer to clear my good name. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 4
hikerjer Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 11015
Joined: Apr. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 11:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great photos. So glad you had a good trip.  Come again.

--------------
"Too often I have met men who boast only of how many miles they've traveled and not of what they've seen."  -  Louis L'Amour
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 5
offtrail Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 354
Joined: Jul. 2003
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 06 2013, 12:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sounds like a great trip. There are variations of the loop that are just wonderful. Skytop lakes basin is stark and beautiful. Also the valley from Fizzle back up to Rough Lake is fantastic. My other favorite loop starts out of Island Lake ans explores all those offtrail lakes to the northwest. Hiking is easy and the views are spectacular. Then there is the Winds. So many trips. Start planning for next year.

offtrail
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 6
Eaglerr Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 06 2013, 4:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

What great pics and tales.  Joe, the f$&@?n goat at 4 am would have required a change of undergarments for me!
What great trips you guys have had in 2 years.  I know what your saying, but at least I got up to NH this summer, for a perfect mt. Wash summit!
Can't wait to hear of the next adventure.

Rob
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
5 replies since Sep. 05 2013, 7:42 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]


 
reply to topic new topic new poll

» Quick Reply Beartooths Aug 18-24
iB Code Buttons
You are posting as:

Do you wish to enable your signature for this post?
Do you wish to enable emoticons for this post?
Track this topic
View All Emoticons
View iB Code



Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions