Peak(s):  Scotch Bonnet Mountain - 10380
Sheep Mountain - 10620
Date Posted:  10/07/2008
Date Climbed:   09/28/2008
Author:  roozers42
 Montana Beartooth 10ers   

Scotch Bonnet Mountain (10,380)
Sheep Mountain (10,620)
September 28, 2008
Jen and Scott in the Beartooths

I recently took a teaching position at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, and finally got out to explore the Beartooth Range. When I accepted the job, I knew there was hiking, skiing, and climbing nearby, but hadn't done much research. As it turns out, all of Montana's 12ers are in my backyard - the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains!

I've been working quite a bit getting settled into my new job and hadn't found time for hiking. Last weekend, the weather was fantastic and Scott was in town so I decided it would be fun to drive over the Beartooth pass, check out a tent from my college (it's free and they will lend out ANYTHING you need!) and head up to the mountains. I've never been too worried about animals in Colorado, but the thought of grizzly bears had me a bit nervous so I went out and purchased my first bear spray. I read that outside Alaska and Canada, the Beartooths have the biggest population of grizzly bears and I wasn't going to take any chances.

Before Scott arrived, I took a look at my map and decided that we should drive over the pass and camp close to Cooke City for a try at Cairn Peak the next day. Good plan, but I had NO idea where we were going and whether or not it would be feasible. We drove to Red Lodge in the afternoon and climbed a couple sport routes at a local crag before heading over the pass. We've climbed at this little area twice and have had the place to ourselves - definitely different than Boulder Canyon!

Our drive to Cooke City was beautiful and since we hadn't eaten, we hoped there would be a decent restaurant since we only packed snacks for the hike. The town is quite small and we were stunned to find a French Bistro (who would have thought!) and had a fantastic meal.
Scott and I are a bit "soft" on camping these days so we didn't sleep terribly well. We woke up around 6:30 and started up the road to our trailhead, hoping the limited directions I was able to find were correct. We finally came to a stopping point beside some old buildings, but since I hadn't read anything about them (and it was an obvious area), I was seriously confused. I was unexcited about starting a long hike through the trees in unfamiliar territory with unclear directions so we decided to drive up Lulu Pass and see what was up there. On the way up our new road, we saw orange vests lurking in the foliage and realized we were in prime hunting season. Scott went and talked to the hunters and asked what season it was. The answer - "it's everything season!" Very comforting.

At this point, I was very happy with our decision to head up high rather than spend a lot of time hiking in the woods with potential hunters around. As we drove, I looked at the map to find a something to climb from the pass. Although not a high peak, Scotch Bonnet Mountain was close and an obvious choice.

Our Ford truck commercial shot

After walking by a camper complete with an outside scope setup, we headed up Scotch Bonnet, topping out after only 20 minutes. Whew, that was rough!

Heading up Scotch Bonnet


Looking back at Scotch Bonnet

The weather was fantastic and after a look at the map, Sheep Mountain looked like a great addition to the morning. The ridge down Scotch Bonnet was fun 2nd class and we worked our way to a road that lead to Sheep's ridge.

Heading down the ridge

Stellar views

Along the road, we saw some nice, fresh bear tracks and were glad to have the pepper spray.

Approaching Sheep Mountain

Views from the summit

After a nice break on Sheep Mountain's summit and a look at the map to help identify peaks, we headed back into the valley for a loop back to the pass.

Back down in the valley

Looking back at our route to Sheep Mountain (right)

All in all, these were two easy peaks, but somehow it seemed a bit more significant. I've climbed quite a few peaks in Colorado and after being in the Beartooths, I feel as though I've only been in training. I'm also excited to be hiking in glacier territory - bring on the snow climbing! Thanks for reading - I am really excited to be here in Montana and hope to post some nice hikes in the next few years. The drive home was gorgeous and found my new obsession - Pilot Peak in Wyoming!

Pilot Peak

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
beautiful country
10/08/2008 06:12
I spent a couple months doing research in and around the Beartooths and that is indeed a beautiful area of the country. Our cam was just outside Red Lodge on the mountain front. I agree that Pilot Peak and its neighbor Index Peak do look quite appealing. If I have one suggestion for you it would be to visit the tiny town of Roscoe buried in the similarly beautiful Rosebud valley and have a steak at the famed Grizzly Bar. You may have seen the bumper stickers that say ”Where the hell is Roscoe?” The 36 oz. T-bone from the Grizzly bar has to have been the best steak I‘ve ever eaten.

10/08/2008 14:28
I‘ll definitely visit Roscoe and check out the Grizzly Bar.

10/08/2008 22:22
And I like that shot of Pilot Peak.

pilot peak
10/09/2008 20:01
looks like the Coxcomb, what a mountain.

Thats quite a bear print, I‘d feel a lot better with a glock than a can of mace though. Nevertheless, thats a big foot.

Cool report, off the beaten path, report.

Big second on the Grizzly
10/10/2008 22:08
They also usually have a selection of quality brews. And Roscoe is near the junction where you can head up East Rosebud Canyon, car camp, and take on Montana‘s highest, Granite Peak. A minimum hard two-day/reasonable three-day venture (camp up on Froze to Death plateau, then tackle Granite the next morning). There are also some good technical routes on the crags in the Canyon itself (just look out for some poison ivy). That‘s a great shot of Pilot - I just wish the peak wasn‘t composed of volcanic junk.

dave alex
nice report
10/11/2008 22:47
Way to get back in the hiking saddle, Jen. Acadia and I just had a nice stroll through ‘Mt. Barnes & Noble‘ today .

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