More ancient past from the archives, 1981 Beartooths trip

John Goering

Sep 30, 2014
This was a 8 day trip that started at the same place as the 1980 trip, the Chief Joseph Trailhead. We stayed on the Beaten Path to Russel Lake, thence to Mariane where we camped two nights with a day trip up past Red Rock Lakes to Summit Mountain. The third night was spent at Big Butte Lake, the 4th and 5th nights at Castle Lake with another day trip visit to Castle Rock Glacier. The 6th night was at Donelson, and the last night at Keyser Brown Lake with the exit out to the Lake Fork Trailhead. Roughly 70 something miles total.

The always impressive fen above Kersey Lake






Pilot and Index Peaks


Lake of the Winds and Mariane

Heading up past Red Rock Lakes




On Summit Mountain looking north across the upper reaches of East Rosebud Creek. Right to left, Tempest Mountain, Granite Peak, Cairn Mountain (the hump), Mount Villard and The Spires, and Glacier Peak on far left, all 12,000' plus.

This reach of the trip continues over to Sierra Creek and the two night stay at Castle Lake with another day trip to Castle Rock Glacier.

We are eventually headed for that gap in the far ridge.

Sierra Creek


Outlet of Summerville Lake

Castle Lake


Sierra Creek

Flat Rock Lake

Toe of Castle Rock Glacier

Navajo Tarn

Castle Rock Glacier


I think the sediment on the old ice here is courtesy of Mt St Helens.

The last three nights, from Castle Lake, over the pass by Sky Top Lake, and out to the trailhead on the Lake Fork of Rock Creek.
Castle Lake

Crystal Lake

Maryott Lake

Cloverleaf Lakes, Lonesome Peak

Doneldson Lake, the next to last camp

Lonesome Mountain

View down Lake Fork from pass. Second Rock Lake in valley

A near vertical drop into Sky Pilot Lake. This was some rugged terrain to traverse.

Un-named ice at the upper end of Lake Fork. Contrary to Castle Rock Glacier, this is apparently still present

Second Rock Lake again

First Rock Lake

Keyser Brown Lake. We set up camp here utilizing the flashlights---

And the exit photo. You will note the duct tape on my friend Chris's Pivetta boot- it was what held the sole on for the last 20 miles. That about exhausted our supply of that wonder material as it was reapplied every 5 miles or so.
Guess I'll have to dig some out..... dont have anything till the late 90's. Couldnt afford a camera.
Loving these reports from trips decades ago! Magnificent shots; have me wanting to be in the Beartooths on a summer day!
K, not beartooths but about as old as I can find.... Two 15 sec video clips (not todays standards) from a 2003 trip going from Lava pt (Zion) into Kolob Canyon, up and out Deep Creek / Crystal Creek. Actually did this entire hike in Teva sandals because I left my boots in the back of the truck at the end....

Maybe we need to start a thread on old / ancient trips....?

How are those glaciers faring today?

Is the lady on the right using an internal frame pack?
How are those glaciers faring today?

Is the lady on the right using an internal frame pack?
Castle Rock Glacier is, for all practical purposes, gone. That bit of open water at the toe is now just another un-named lake. It was still most of a square mile of ice at the time.

The ice in the upper end of Lake Fork still exists but it is much smaller. And yes, that was an early internal frame pack. I tried a Lowe Alpine version a year or two after that on another Beartooth trip and liked it so well I didn't revisit internal frame packs for most of another two decades.
Great to see something out of the archive. It looks like a lot of the camping was near or above tree line. Really cool.
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