Worker Bee

Page Type
Montana, United States, North America
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Time Required:
A long day
5.7 III
Rock Difficulty:
5.7 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Worker Bee
Created On: Sep 8, 2009
Last Edited On: Jan 19, 2010


Approach from the Beehive Basin trailhead. Follow the trail 2.5 miles to the lake, then find a faint climbers trail or make your own way towards Beehive Peak. Scramble up the boulder field to the center of the north face of the peak. The climb is a prominent crack just right of center on the face.

Route Description

Note: This route, most likely first done by Craig Zaspel and Jack Tackle back in the 70’s, was originally called the 'Standard Route'. Another route, called the 'New World Route' climbs 10-30 meters to the left of this route for the length of the face. Today, the 'Standard Route' typically refers to climbing the first half of the New World Route, then finishing on this route, now dubbed 'Worker Bee'.

Pitch 1Pitch 1

Pitch 1: 5.6, 40m
Begin the route on the snow field that is sometimes present year-round. Follow the large crack on 75+ degree rock to a small but comfortable belay below a vertical step. An alternative, to bypass the snow field, is to climb the crack 10m to the left and traverse right on a 60 degree ledge to the actual route.
Pitch 2Pitch 2

Pitch 2: 5.7, 40m
If you are small and tail your pack, the next two pitches may be easier than listed. Follow the crack / chimney up the face, using the right wall as necessary. Protection is slim due to the smooth nature of the rock, so you may have up to 25' sections of runout between pro. Belay on the 'Dinner Table' - the obvious large, almost flat ledge.
Pitch 3Pitch 3

Pitch 3: 5.7+, 50m
If you cannot fit inside the chimney, this is the crux pitch of the climb. Use the right wall and whatever features you can find inside the chimney. Again, protection is slim, so expect some runout sections. Exit the chimney after 20-25m to the right to easier terrain. From here, choose any of a few crack systems to finish the pitch. The easiest is to continue up for 10m after exiting the crack and then returning left to the main crack. Belay in a comfortable, sheltered stance inside the now very wide chimney.

Pitch 4Pitch 4

Pitch 4: 5.3, 60m
Follow any line up the mountain on easy, but loose, terrain. You will pass a rappel sling around a tree with some rap rings on it. Stretch your rope the full 60m to belay on the top of the ridge.
Pitch 5 to SummitPitch 5

Pitch 5: 4th class, 60m
You may choose not to use the rope on this one, as it now follows the west ridge route, but the pitch is very exposed. Cross over the ridge to the south side and follow the extremely exposed trail and scramble up to the summit. Stretch the rope to belay from the summit of the mountain.
Descent GullyDescent

Descent: Descend east from the summit on the south side of the mountain on a faint trail. Expect some short, 10-15 foot sections of downclimbing. After 500', follow the gully that descends to the northeast. The gully is made mostly of loose rock, so walk carefully. After descending halfway, turn left and go up a short 25' section to the final gully that heads to the northwest. Follow this gully to the boulder field. The descent does not pass the start of the climb, so if you left gear at the base you will have to take a few extra minutes to scramble over and recover it.

Plan on 12 hours car-to-car

**Pitch lengths are approximate

Note: In Ron Brunckhorst's "Alpine Rock and Ice Guide to Southwest & Central Montana", he combines pitches 2 and 3 and labels it as a 5.8 pitch. Take this as you may, there are many variations possible by using the wall to the right on these pitches.

Essential Gear

A standard rack, with pieces up to 4" or larger if you have them. Otherwise expect runout sections. Tricams are also useful due to the awkward smoothness and shape of the rock.