Ski Mountaineering Camp
4-Day Ski Mountaineering Camp
Goose Lake, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness,
Learn expedition preparation and ski mountaineering skills and techniques on this multi-day backcountry ski trip. Isolated deep in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness, this trip will provide snowmobile access to the wilderness boundary, where a variety of incredible terrain provides opportunities for ski mountaineering from a backcountry basecamp far from the crowds.
Based out of Red Lodge, Beartooth Mountain Guides is the longest operating service in the area and is now offering winter trips in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. This 4-day backcountry trip is one of a kind, even in Montana.
Winter camping in a remote environment is challenging and rewarding. Let us help you learn!
Establishing a camp within the Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness allows participants to learn and use the skills necessary for future expeditions in Montana and beyond. Being above tree line and away from snowmobiles, Goose Lake serves as a perfect location to hone in indispensable tactics for any aspiring mountaineer.
Tour with a day pack: let the snowmobile do the work!
Cooke City and the Beartooth Mountains are unique in that snowmobiles are permitted over a large portion of the range. Mechanized access lets our participants save valuable learning time and energy by reducing travel significantly and carrying the majority of our camping equipment. Beartooth Mountain Guides will provide snowmobile transportation for participants and gear to within a reasonable distance from camp. Sledding is a special and fun experience to access remote terrain!
Goose Lake and the surrounding peaks offer a wide variety of terrain suitable for everything technical descents to low angle powder fields.
Basecamp provides the perfect balance of access, wilderness, and variety. Being just beyond the wilderness boundary, one can appreciate the comfort of snowmobile access while enjoying the solitude of an alpine wilderness in winter. At nearly 10,000 feet, you can expect wide open vistas above tree line. Low angle powder fields lay in juxtaposition with the jagged ridge lines and couloir ridden faces of peaks within a day's tour. No matter the conditions, Goose Lake is epic!
Our guides bring a breadth of experience from Alaska to Antartica, allowing you safe and informative days in the backcountry.
Beartooth Mountain Guides' lead guides Akio Joy and Austin Hart will be organizing and guiding this trip. Expect to practice important skills such as: expedition prep, tour planning, steep terrain management, and backcountry forecasting. This course is built around the goals of participants and the conditions during the trip, leading to a dynamic and informative hands-on learning environment.
Food & Gear
Beartooth Mountain Guides will provide breakfasts and dinners on the mountain, but you need to pack snacks and lunches. We can accommodate most diets: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose intolerant. Our meals are a mix of fresh, self-made food and freeze dried pre-packaged meals.
Once youhave booked a trip with us, we will provide you a complete gear list. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Intermediate to advanced, experience in backcountry terrain required
Ability to backcountry ski up to 8 hours
Group of 4+: $1800/person
4 - 8 participants, 2 guides
Minimum 2 seasons of backcountry skiing/riding experience
Cooke City, Montana
Snowmobile transport, group equipment, meals, & professional guide
Lunches, snacks, transportation, personal equipment, and guide gratuity
Travelling to high camp with mechanized access makes for a quick & light approach.
The trip begins with a briefing and gear check in Cooke City, Montana. From here, your guides load up on the snowmobiles and tow/ride with participants to within a short tour of basecamp, depending on riding conditions. While one guide leads the group to camp across flat terrain with light packs, the other guide(s) will ferry overnight equipment to the wilderness boundary. Once at the boundary, camp is just a short tow away for our equipment.
We spend the remainder of the day establishing camp and covering basic winter camping & ski mountaineering skills.
Goose Lake is situated high in the alpine, surrounded by countless ski descents.
Day 2 is our first big chance to get into the mountains. This morning, guides wake up early to assess weather and prepare breakfast and hot drinks before breaking into two groups. Depending on conditions and experience, the groups approach nearby mountains such as Mount Fox and Mount Zimmer.
Aiming to find terrain to demonstrate various ski mountaineering skills, teams may employ technical rope techniques in steep entrances or discuss glacial travel practices and rescue skills. In the event of a storm, plenty of low angle terrain lends itself to safe powder skiing.
Mount Fox, Mount Zimmer, the Sawtooths, and Wolf Mountain provide a variety of day objectives nearby.
Day 3 starts similar to day 2, but with a deeper understanding of skills, snowpack, and experience. Guides will have the freedom to once again divide teams up into appropriate groups and tackle objectives that suit the goals of participants. This could take the form of steep skiing, summiting a peak, or navigating a long loop.
With clear weather and stable snowpack, this day is likely the biggest of the four. Participants can expect to find the best snow and most inspiring lines on this outing.
A few powder turns before packing up camp and skiing into Cooke City.
Day 4 is the final day of this course and, after 3 nights high in the Beartooths, a civilization will be welcomed. We spend the morning tackling any uncovered skills and getting the last turns in for those who still have strength left after the past 3 days in the mountains.
Once we've broken down camp, we tow the equipment to the snowmobiles so they can haul loads to town. After a short tour, we ski directly into Cooke City for a group debrief.
What happens if the weather isn't good?
Poor weather is common in the mountains and can change plans quickly. Fortunately, skiing during storms is pretty darn fun! We're prepared for heavy snowfall and cold nights, but we chose a historically stable time of the year with a deep snowpack in hoped that we can access some bigger terrain.
Is this course for me?
This course is flexible to the goals and needs of a variety of experienced skiers. If you're an intermediate to advanced backcountry skier/rider looking to experience winter camping while learning and applying new skiing & mountaineering techniques, then this course is for you.
Where is Goose Lake?
Goose Lake is situated in a high alpine basin roughly 7 miles North of Cooke City, Montana. It lies above tree line and beyond the wilderness boundary, meaning access is limited and crowds are far away. Goose lake is surrounded by various significant peaks, with 1000' rolling slopes right above camp. Just North of Goose lay multiple 2000'+ couloirs and objectives, perfect for day long tours.
What gear do I need?
Beartooth Mountain Guides will supply winter mountaineering tents, fuel, stoves, cookware, meals, snowmobiles, sleds, and technical equipment. You will need all personal ski equipment, sleeping bag/pad(s), clothing, helmet, and snacks. If you have any questions about specific equipment, please email us and we can send an equipment list.