Back from the Beartooths: A 50-Mile Traverse With Scouts

 

Self Portrait at Green Lake

LEICA M9, ZEISS BIOGON C 35/2.8


I am back from a traverse of the Beartooth Plateau with BSA Troop 676 of Bozeman, and am getting caught up, so can’t provide much more than teasers right now. The good stuff (photos and gear list) will appear when this blog is relaunched with a new design later this month, or in early August.

Here are some highlights from the trek:

 

  • Three adults and six Scouts completed the entire traverse. The average age of the Scouts was 13.5 years old. Four members of our crew were either 12 or 13 years old. The Scouts carried a total of 149 pounds of personal gear, food, and patrol gear amongst the six of them.
  • We completed a route of about 50 miles that traversed the entire plateau from the Beartooth Highway (Highway 212) to Aero Lakes. We spent about 1/3 of our time off trail on snow, talus, and tundra. The longest hike any of these Scouts had completed before was 18 miles, and two nights.
  • The Scouts slept in a GoLite Shangri-La 8 (no inner tent), cooked over fire using two 4-L pots (with a few meals over Esbit when wood was not available), and treated water with Aqua Mira in two 4-L collapsible water bags.
  • Everyone wore running shoes. No one got a blister. I sprained my shoulder and everyone got a small cut or two. One cut got infected and the Scout had to go to the ER a day after coming home for IV antibiotic treatment. Spooky.
  • We encountered rain, hail, wind, sun, snow, talus, scree, river crossings, and mosquitoes – with no small amount of each!
  • Scouts carried three ULA Circuit Packs, one GoLite Jam pack, one frameless Lowe Alpine rucksack, and one Bozeman-vintage Dana pack with a light load in it (this one was carried by our 17 year old).
  • We caught, and ate, trout.
  • We bagged a remote peak.
  • The Scouts did their own navigation. We followed.
  • We ended our trek by hiking Highway 212 right into the Beartooth Cafe in Cooke City during the middle of the Beartooth Motorcycle Rally, when $5 Million worth of Harley Davidson’s congregate in Cooke City. We stuck out like sore thumbs, walking downtown with our packs on. It was fun.

So — more soon. Here are a few teasers.

Ambling on Tundra

Chase, 12, walks up the Sierra Creek valley en route to Castle Lake on a day hike from Green Lake.

LEICA M9, ZEISS BIOGON C 35/2.8

 


Dusk at Rough Lake Camp

 

LEICA M9, ZEISS BIOGON C 35/2.8


 

Twelve Year Old on Talus Above Lower Aero Lake

LEICA M9, ZEISS BIOGON C 35/2.8