OverviewCastle Rock Spire stands at 12,540ft. The Spire is arguably the 6th tallest point in Montana.
This peak sees very few climbers due to it's remoteness. I imagine this peak only gets climbed ever other year. Most peak baggers and mountaineers get as far Whitetail Peak and Castle Mountain, but few go past Castle Mountain. The Spire is very picturesque and a great vantage point located in the heart of the Beartooths. On a clear day from the summit you can see majority of Montana's high points.
Due to Castle Rock Spire's difficulty and remoteness caution is advised.
Getting ThereCastle Rock Spire is located in the Beartooth range of South-Central Mountana. The closest major airports are in Billings and Bozeman. The closest town with amenities is Red Lodge.
WEST FORK of the ROCK CREEK TRAILHEAD
From the south side of Red Lodge Montana, turn West off of highway 212 and follow the road heading WSW across the plain and into the Rock Creek Valley. Follow the valley for 15-16 miles to the end of the road. This is the Trailhead leading up the West Fork of Rock Creek. The Rock Creek valley is popular for fishing, and several good camping areas can be found along the road leading from Red Lodge to the trailhead. From the trailhead, follow the path leading along the North side of the West Fork. After 7.5 miles you will reach tree line and a established bridge across to the South side of Rock Creek. Once you reach the bridge there are several good flat grassy areas to set up base camp. Such areas include Sundance Lake, Shadow Lake, or the Silt Lakes.
LAKE FORK TRAILHEAD
From the south side of Red Lodge, Montana, follow highway 212 South for approximately 11 miles. Before passing Black Pyramid Mountain, turn right onto the well-maintained road which leads past several cabins and into the Lake Fork Valley. Follow this road for 2 miles to the trailhead. A footbridge crosses Lake Fork Creek just beyond the end of the road to join the trail on the Creek's south side. This trail follows the Lake Fork, passing by September Morn Lake near tree line after 8.0 miles. Sundance pass is another 2.0 miles from September Morn Lake. Cross over the switchbacks and set up base camp on the other side near any of the four lakes.
EAST ROSEBUD TRAILHEAD
This route is not as popular as the rest because it is more physically enduring to reach the spire due to climbing the Sundance Glacier. The trailhead for this route starts at East Rosebud Lake. Most people set up there base camp at Rainbow Lake.
When To ClimbThe main climbing season is early July to Labor Day.
DifficultyUIAA : IV+
Yosemite: 5.6 / 5.7
Handy Alpine Grade Facts
CampingCamping is allowed anywhere within the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. You are "requested" to check in with the Beartooth Ranger Station in Red Lodge or call (406)446-2103 before. You must have a permit to cut live trees for firewood.
Most parties choose to climb Castle Rock Spire in three days, camping on either NW side of Sundass Pass in the bottom of the West Rock Creek valley or the SE side near September Morn Lake. If you camp along the West Fork Rock Creek side you have several areas to camp. There are many flat grassy areas near Shadow Lake, Sundance Lake, or the Silt Lakes. If coming from East Rosebud there are plentiful spots to camp near Rainbow Lake.
Mountain Goats are plentiful the closer your are to Sundance Pass. It's advisable to put your food out of reach and away from your tent. Besides taking precautions with your food it's wise to urinate far away from your tent unless you want you hear the goats licking up your pee all night.
Castle Rock Spire Pictures
External LinksTopoZone.com Map
Google Satellite Image
MSN MapPoint Map