Located in the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness is the second highest mountain in the Absaroka Mountains. At 10,941 feet, it is just 300 feet shorter than Mount Cowen, the highest peak in the Absarokas. The mountain is semi-popular by Montana standards, but chances are, there won't be anybody above Pine Creek Lake, located at it's base. The mountain is a full day walk-up, with only one sketchy section. However, this section is easily avoidable.
The trailhead to Pine Creek Lake, the most popular trail in the immediate area, is accessable by a paved road. To get there, take highway 89 south from Livingston. Turn left at the first bridge across the Yellowstone, it will be at the 'Carter's Bridge Fishing Access.' Follow the road through the small rural town of Pine Creek, after leaving the town, within a mile or two, there will be a sign that says 'Pine Creek Recreational Access.' Again, turn left and follow the road toward the trailhead. There is ample parking, and a campground. Just watch out for the occational bears.
The area is located in wilderness designated lands, therefore, there can be no motorized vehicles or bicycles. Please obey these laws, they are there for a reason!
When To Climb
The mountain can be climbed any time of the year, and has been done numerous times during the winter. The easiest season to climb the mountain is in the mid-summer to early fall. June may be slightly early, unless backcountry skiing is the focus. Sometimes, mid-july is the best because of the hard snowfields to climb on, it's easier than the talus found in late summer.
Winter ascents aren't common, but have been done. The biggest concern is the avalanche danger. Good planning and good avalanche knowledge could make a winter ascent greatly rewarding.
There are tons of perfect campsites in the area around Pine Creek lake. The northern and eastern shores have the best campsites, but there is room for several different parties. Room is not a problem, except maybe around the 4th of July. Camp with care, the area gets a lot of use, so keep it nice for everybody who follows.
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