Beartooth Plateau Questions
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Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Beartooth Plateau Questions on 08/15/2013 11:34:36 MDT Print View

I have about a week and a half before school starts, so a buddy and I are heading to the Beartooth Plateau in a few days for some hiking and fishing. A few questions for any of you more familiar with the area:

(1) Food storage - We'll be above treeline probably the entire hike, so I'm curious what to do about food hanging. Is it reasonable to expect that I can easily find a cliff to hang a stuff sack from? Or do we need bear canisters? Obviously, I'd rather avoid the bear can if at all possible (don't even own one).

(2) Bugs - I'm assuming they'll be no problem, but my buddy is worried about them. Should have no problems leaving the net tent at home, right?

(3) Fires - I'm also assuming that there won't be much fuel for firewood, so we shouldn't plan on campfires for cooking any trout we catch. Again, if anyone knows differently, do tell.

Thanks.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Beartooth Plateau Questions on 08/16/2013 16:39:42 MDT Print View

Bump---any feedback?

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Beartooth Plateau Questions on 08/16/2013 17:10:07 MDT Print View

Clay, I sent you a PM. I also e-mailed my YNP ranger buddy and gave him your questions. I'll paste things here if/when he has the time to answer before you leave for the Beartooths.

John Klinepeter
(johnzotk) - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies, USA
The Plateau on 08/16/2013 18:18:58 MDT Print View

I don't have much to offer you but since you are not getting much response, yet.............. I backpacked a portion of the Beartooth plateau July 27-31, 2010. Island Lake >Albino Lake>Cloverleaf Lakes>Native Lake>Island Lake. My murky memory is telling me that the mosquitoes were not a problem except at Native Lake where I had to use some protection under my I.D. Silshelter. Native Lake is below treeline, however. Just guessing (since I have never hung a food bag from rocks) that you could find plentiful hanging opportunities. We ran into some very "friendly" goats at Albino Lake and I suspect they would be interested in food caches. Here is a link to the Gallatin Nat'l Forest Food Storage order: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5127774.jpg . I did not find the equivalent Custer Forest information in a hasty search. I carried a small Bearvault canister three years ago.

I am certain that our camps at Albino and Cloverleaf were devoid of fire wood. Maybe (?) we had a fire at Native but I don't think so.

Though I do not fish I do remember where the fishermen in our group caught fish. PM me if you would like that info.

The only other first hand knowledge I have that is remotely relevant is that I spent several days base-camp hiking from the East Rosebud area in mid July last year. No mosquitoes that I remember. All hiking was below treeline, though.

I will be in that area next week, also, but probably fighting the crowds at the Chief Joseph TH. Good luck!

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
re: Much Appreciated on 08/16/2013 23:31:40 MDT Print View

Thanks guys. This is really helpful.

I plan on getting in touch with the ranger district tomorrow to check on the food storage issues. Hopefully they'll be able to fill in the last few gaps.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
My 2 cents on 08/17/2013 00:03:46 MDT Print View

Clayton I am NOT an expert on the area but here's my 2 cents.

Bugs - I did some day hiked in the Beartooths this summer. I'd say the bugs were similar or slightly worse then what I experienced on backpacking trips in the Winds and Teton Wilderness. They were worst by the lakes. Up on high windy ridges, no problem. Based on my very limited experience I'd want a bug proof bivy but a complete tent would not be required. Bring a small bottle of 98% DEET (keep it off waterproof things because it melts plastic slightly). I used a bug proof nylon shirt once and really liked it.

Bear Bagging - I don't know anything about the rock idea. In black bear country I don't worry as much but in Grizzly country I get a solid bear hand at least 100 yards from my camp and preferably out of sight. I would stop a good hour before sundown in order to do that plus set up camp. For future trips I've considered renting a bearikade just so I could hike till dark, drop my cannister and go camp. Of course hiking at dusk in bear country isn't recommended anyway so I may not bother.

Edited by Cameron on 08/17/2013 00:17:52 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: My 2 cents on 08/17/2013 07:48:22 MDT Print View

"Bear Bagging - ... but in Grizzly country ... I've considered renting a bearikade just so I could hike till dark, drop my cannister and go camp."

Bear Damage

From canister testing of a Bearikade at the Grizzly Discovery Center.

As far as I know, Bearikade has not made any changes as a result of this testing, or had any other testing sessions since this one. (2008 or 2009 ??)

Edited by greg23 on 08/17/2013 08:04:57 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: My 2 cents on 08/22/2013 11:30:17 MDT Print View

Thanks again for the help. Unfortunately, we got smoked out of the Beartooths after only one night. There was a fire the next drainage over spilling a lot of smoke into the area.

It wasn't a total loss though. We ended up spending the next three days in Yellowstone and had a great time catching cutthroat and cuttbows. It's amazing that in a park that full and at summer peak, all you have to do to avoid other anglers is to walk a few easy miles. In the two days we had to fish, we didn't see any one else on the water or beyond two miles from the trailhead. And the fishing was fantastic.