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[TR] Mt Rearguard - SE Slopes via Hellroaring Plateau 5/12/2012

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Trip: Mt Rearguard - SE Slopes via Hellroaring Plateau


Date: 5/12/2012


Trip Report:

I had to work in Montana in May, so I headed out a couple days early with a plan to do some exploring in the Beartooth Mountains. As the trip neared, my first day in the area was looking like rain, but it was followed by awesome weather. So I hung out in Red Lodge for a day, and the next morning headed out for Hellroaring Plateau. I took a low-standard Forest Service road up as far as I could travel before hitting impassable snow, and parked. It turned out this was near the Hellroaring Creek crossing, which is the main drainage for the many lakes in the center of the plateau. I scrambled up 1000'+ to the top of the plateau, and worked my way over towards Sliderock Lake and Mt Rearguard. I found a nice bivy site with an amazing view, and studied which route up Rearguard I should aim for the following morning.



sunset over Mt Rearguard


I settled on the tallus and snow slopes along the east side of Sliderock Lake and up the east side of the mountain. The night in the high teens was a little chilly, as I only had my 40 deg sleeping bag, all that would fit in my checked airplane luggage. But soon I awoke from a solid sleep to glaring sun - morning had come quick. My route was pretty easy up the peak, and in about 2.5 hrs from camp I was on top of the summit plateau. From here there were awesome views of Peak 11977', Spirit Mountain, and Beartooth Mountain - the namesake of the range. The actual Bears Tooth, the impressive pinnacle on the east ridge of Beartooth Mountain, was neat to see.



Peak 11977'



Beartooth Mtn & da Bears Tooth



Pk 11977', Spirit Mtn, Beartooth Mtn


I worked my way back to camp and then descended a different route back to the car. I ended up finding a high, snowed-in trailhead around 9800'; this would be a great and convenient late summer access point. Below this spot the road was a bit of an adventure to follow, and in a few sections I had to use my ice axe as the steep mountain road was totally snowed over.



snowy road


After a few miles I made it back to my car, completing a fun 14-mile solo loop tour of Hellroaring Plateau, a 12k peak, and a small piece of the Beartooth Mountains.



wilderness sign found on the way down



looking south at Beartooth Plateau


Gear Notes:

ice axe, crampons, bivy gear, camera


Approach Notes:

from US 212, drive Forest Road 421 to FR 3004 to Hellroaring Creek; scramble up Hellroaring Plateau & head west towards Mt Rearguard

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