Absaroka- Beartooth Wilderness: 6 Trips July-Sep. 2015

Bryan Harwood

Mar 24, 2016

View from the Top of Lonesome Mountain.

Hello, my name's Bryan. I saw that there is some interest in the Beartooths within this community, so I figured on compiling all my trips from last summer into one post. I lived and worked on the Bighorn National Forest up at Porcupine RS last season, so on my weekends I would drive across the desert, the bighorn basin, in between the 2 mountain ranges to explore the hell out of the Beartooths. I took 6 separate backpacking trips over there from july to september. A very amazing place. Enjoy...

Trip 1: Timberline Lake to Silver Run Mountain Summit-
July 2015- This was my first ever trip into the Beartooth Mountains, and it was absolutely stunning. I was hooked. This is why...

The View of Index and Pilot Peak

Near Beartooth Butte lookin at the main Beartooth crest to the North

Grizzly Bear Cubs wrestling. Yep there are alot of Bears in the Beartooth

Alpine Wonderland!

Hanging out at Timberline Lake

Timberline Lake. Gorgeous.

The view on top of the Silver Run Plateau heading toward the peak

Cool overlook at the cirque heading higher and higher

Sweet ass alpine rocky world paradise

Made it to the top of this interesting summit, Silver Run Mountain. Huge Boulders for ever!

survey marker by my foot on a random summit boulder.
This was a really challenging hike. The boulders on top of the plateau are big, the landscape is enormous, and there are few trails to get to the cool places. I Love The Beartooth

Trip 2: Lonesome Lake to Lonesome Mountain Summit
This trip also, in July, was my favorite Trip into the Beartooth for sure. The colors were in full summer Green and the flowers were fantastic.

Flowers along Island Lake


Elephant head flowers! Amazing creatures

On the trail

A lake along the cross- country route to Lonesome Lake

My camp above Lonesome Lake, Lonesome mountain is right there.

A pond on my approach to the summit. Beauty.

another alpine pool

This Is EARTH! the view of the Beartooth Plateau from the summit of Lonesome Mountain

View North at the main Crest

Amazing views of ROCK

Heading down a different route with cool alpine flowers and pools

A sweet sunset to eat dinner to. :) amazing trip here!!!
This is the trip that I recommended to my trail crew and others I know. Its remarkable!

Trip 3: Froze-to-Death Plateau- Tempest peak Summit
On this trip My friends and I attempted the highest peak in Montana, Granite. The day of our climb, we got hit with big storm, but we did get to the top of Tempest peak, another sweet ass mountain. The Froze to death plateau is a behemoth of a bastard. be prepared for everything up there! Including piss licking mountain goats.

Buddies headin into the wilderness

mike an me lookin over Mystic Lake

gettin higher

he was posing for me

classic landscape of the Beartooth high country

Lookin down at Princess Lake

our camp. Very VERY exposed to wind and snow hail. This was a pretty afternoon

us on top of Tempest Peak, where we got an INCREDIBLE SUNSET!

There He is GRANITE Peak. A very Daunting mountain that we did not even get a chance to attempt due to the next morning weather.

lookin down from Tempest at Lowary and Granite Lakes

badass mountain!

And thats all she wrote for this trip. No pictures the next day. All you woulda seen is white out...
My buddies and I already have a date set to do it again this summer!
Hope for good weather!!!!

Trip 4: Lone Elk/ Rough Lakes to Aero Lakes-
Started from the Lady of the Lake area up through the Skytop Creek drainage to Lone Elk Lake and the Rough Lakes Basin, traversed a ridge into the Aero Lake Basin to trek above the Skytop Lakes Basin Below Granite Peak.

Skytop Creek

Lone Elk Lake Basin

Rough Lakes Basin- Storm's a brewin


lookin down at upper Aero Lake on ridge between Rough Lakes and Aero

Classic ALPINE ! Sweetass Peaks

Amazing colors from lichens and sedimentary deposits within the granite rock

Lookin down at Granite lake while looking across at Granite Peak. We meet once again!

Granite Peak, the South Face

Neat colors!!!

Aweome colors on my hike out the next day! \
Another wonderful Beartooth weekend on my list! Keep reading. I know its alot for me 2!!!

Trip 5: West Fork Rock Creek to Castle Rock Glacier
On yet another extremely EPIC journey through the spectacular Beartooth Mountains, I hiked up the fabled West Fork Rock Creek up to the Castle Glacier and an attempt at summitting Castle Mountain 12,689 but the weather came in and F*%#ed me right off the crest. Incredibly dramatic Alpine landscapes.

Ideal Beartooth canyon type scene with pretty colored waters

headin up the creek

Nameless lakes, atleast from what the map says

Sweet Alpine camp again. really really windy

Castle Mountain above the cirque

Whitetail Peak

Next Morning on my way to the approach of Castle, this is a random pond

I made it to the top of the main crest via that icefield. lookin south into the Beartooth Plateau

Lookin East along the ridge crest

This is where the wind was so bad I nearly blew off this narrow ass spine

Alas, The Glacier, and it is fine :)

heres the view from the crest lookin north back into the Canyon

standing below the Glacier and it is Swell

some pond action on my way down

On my way out :) Glorious Trip!!!!

Trip 6: Lake Fork to Sundance Pass-
This was my final Beartooth trip of last summer. It was a really good one too. This trip took me up Lake Fork to Keyser Brown Lake and upward to Sundance Pass where I looked over the drainage that I spent time in last weekend on my attempt of Castle Peak. Bitchin trip all around. Enjoy...

Above the Keyeser Brown lakes on my way to September Morn Lake. The day before, I hiked in and camped at Keyser Brown Lake.

September Morn Lake.. funny because this was a september morn..

my bear canister, eatin some food before gettin to Sundance Pass

Here it is!! YAY Sundance Pass. Just over yonder is where I camped out on a different Beartooth trip! You see that Castle mountain back there!

Lookin Down

Whitetail Peak. Much too windy up here today to try heading up this one

A scene on Lake Fork Creek on my way out!

Thats It. The Beartooth Mountains Rule ASS! Ill be living in Mammoth Hot Springs this coming summer, so I'll be back time again!! Seeya out there! Peace.


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Dec 2, 2013
Amazing country. I've only been there once a long time ago, and I remember it being beautiful, rugged, and lonely.


Sep 12, 2014
thanks. my first trip to the Beartooths was this summer also, and i thought they were amazing.


May 18, 2012
Very adventurous and great pics and report. Where was mum bear when you were so close to those cubs?


Jul 5, 2014
Wow this is great stuff. That's some nice looking country up there. Thanks for sharing.


Oct 5, 2014
You had some great trips and your photos capturing this are fantastic. I love the Beartooths and remember fondly our hikes up there - we also lived at Mammoth Hot Springs for two summers. Enjoy your summer there.


Nov 26, 2015
Most excellent pics and great looking trips.

Did you have any bears checking out your camp locations at all?
Dec 27, 2015
The problem with condensing all those trips (and awesome photos) into a single post, is that I can only 'Like' it one time. And your photos (and these trips) deserve much more than one 'Like' per. :)
Dec 27, 2015
BTW, belated welcome, Bryan! (I've been mostly gone/unavailable from the boards here for about a month now.)

Nice to see someone covering that southwestern MT (+ Idaho/Selway) border area. A very underrated area of the west.
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