Ski Mountaineering Camp
Dates: May 18-21 & 26-29
**Only 2 spots available per date**
4-Day Ski Mountaineering Camp
West Fork Rock Creek,
Learn expedition preparation and ski mountaineering skills and techniques on this multi-day backcountry ski trip.
Tackle world-class descents from this Beartooth basecamp in spring conditions. Primary objectives for this course include the epic Whitetail Couloir and the NE Couloirs on Castle Peak.
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. Although the approach can be arduous with a heavy pack, a high camp sets the team up for many awesome descents within the drainage.
One of the premier couloirs in Montana, and right above camp!
Whitetail couloir is well known as one of the best descents in the state. It faces due North, directly up the approach, so aspiring skiers can truly appreciate it's beauty.
Whitetail couloir is no joke, however, with extremely steep terrain in the upper sections. Some seasons require a rappel entrance and it almost always require technical climbing equipment to ascend. In short, it's a proper ski mountaineering objective.
A variety of lines; the perfect place to cover skills and prepare for Whitetail
Castle lies just a bit further up the valley with a variety of couloirs ranging in width and severity. Accessing the summit ridge often requires navigating cornices, but provides a rewarding view of the neighboring mountains.
The skiing in this zone is less intimidating and, because of this, better for assessing snow conditions, demonstrating appropriate experience, and learning new skills. This is the ideal "warm up" day for Whitetail, while still going well above 12,000'.
Ty brings a breadth of experience from the Alaska Range to New Zealand Alps, allowing you safe and informative days in the backcountry.
Beartooth Mountain Guides' lead guide Ty Guarino will be organizing and guiding this trip. Expect to practice important skills such as: expedition prep, tour planning, steep terrain management, and backcountry forecasting in spring conditions. 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 you have booked a trip with us, we will provide you a complete gear list. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
advanced skier/rider, experience in backcountry terrain required
Ability to backcountry ski up to 8 hours
Group of 1: $2300
Group of 2: $1650/participant
May 18-21, 26-29
1-2 participants, 1 guide
Minimum 2 seasons of backcountry skiing/riding experience
Red Lodge, Montana
Lake Fork Rock Creek, A-B Wilderness
Group equipment, rental gear, meals, & professional guide
Lunches, snacks, transportation, personal equipment, and guide gratuity
Travel to high camp is stunning, with Whitetail Couloir looming above the trail.
The trip begins with a briefing and gear check at our office in Red Lodge, Montana. From here, the team will caravan up to the trailhead on the West Fork or Rock Creek.
The approach is roughly 8 miles long and, depending on snow coverage, may involve some travel on trail and some on skis. Over the 8 miles, expect to gain nearly 2000' and pass by some well known parts of the Beartooths on your way to the high country.
We spend the remainder of the day establishing camp and covering basic winter camping & some ski mountaineering skills.
Castle Mountain provides diverse terrain for learning and refining ski mountaineering and backcountry skills while taking in scenic views.
Day 2 is spent covering skills, learning new techniques, and assessing conditions on Castle Mountain. Castle offers a diverse range of challenging lines, perfect for improving your skills and pushing your limits safely. Skiing this 12,600' mountain is impressive in it's own right, but it is also the perfect preparation for Whitetail. May, with its longer days, milder temperatures, and more stable snow is an ideal time for those looking to gain experience in ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing.
Whitetail Couloir is the premier line on the Northern front of the Beartooths.
With good conditions and solid understanding of skills, we attempt Whitetail early on day 3. Depending on the group's ability and snow conditions, you may climb the more moderate NE ridge of Whitetail before rappelling into the 55 degree upper couloir. If conditions are good, your guide may also opt to ascend the couloir as a team, using ice axes, crampons, and ropes.
With clear weather and stable snowpack, this day is the biggest of the four. The couloir itself is nearly 3,000' of vertical dropping you right back in camp.
A few turns before packing up camp and returning to civilization.
Day 4 is the final day of this trip and, after 3 nights deep in the West Fork, the trailhead 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 hike out the 8 miles of trail we came in on.
What happens if the weather isn't good?
Poor weather is common in the mountains and can change plans quickly. Fortunately, skiing during storms can be pretty darn fun! We're prepared for heavy snowfall and cold nights, but we chose a historically stable time of the year with a stable snowpack. If weather makes access too difficult, we have the option to host this trip out of Rock Creek or Beartooth Pass.
Is this course for me?
This course is flexible to the goals and needs of a variety of experienced skiers. If you're an advanced skier/rider looking to experience spring camping while learning and applying new skiing & mountaineering techniques, then this course is for you.
Why go to the West Fork?
The West Fork of Rock Creek is spectacular, close to town, and drops you at the base of various 12,000+' mountains with relative ease. The valleys are often partially melted out by May, so having a trail to travel on when necessary makes access to Whitetail much more manageable. At the end of the drainage, a variety of inspiring lines allow us options based on weather, experience, and fitness.
What gear do I need?
Beartooth Mountain Guides will supply winter mountaineering tents, fuel, stoves, cookware, meals, guide(s), 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.