Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Montana: 4/19/2010 Hellroaring Hike

Today Jesse was working but Shelli had the day off, so we decided to go for a hike up in the Bear Tooth mountains near Red Lodge. We woke up and Shelli was starting to make breakfast which was delicious. We had pancakes with blueberries and blackberries, and eggs with tomato, spinach and pesto. After breakfast we headed out to the mountains and stopped in the small ski town of Red Lodge and rented Erika a pair of snow shoes (Shelli had a pair and I was using Jesse’s). We continued on the road for about 10miles and then turned off and started winding up the mountain on a dirt road. The road was pretty rough and we would not have been able to make it if we did not have Jesse’s new Subaru;) We got about 3 miles up the 5 mile road and could not go any further because of the snow. So we parked there and started hiking up the road.
As far as the Subaru could get
About ½ mile up the road we saw some tracks going up the side of the hill, (away from the road). Shelli was like, “Hey, let’s go up there” so we all agreed. We strapped on our snowshoes and started side stepping up the side of the almost vertical hill.
Strapping on the Snowshoes

) It took us about 30min but we made it to the top of the ridge line where there was no snow because the rocks were so steep that not even snow could make its home there. I saw Shelli looking up at the vertical rocks that were about 100yards above us and knew exactly what she was thinking, and she said it, “Hey, let’s go up there”.
Me at the top of the snow hill
Shelli scoping out our next phase.
Figured we should take a picture just in case we didnt make it down alive

So we left our snowshoes on the rocks and started scrambling up the hill which was only very loose rock. Every step we took some rock got knocked loose and made mini rock avalanches all the way to the bottom of the hill. We finally got to the top of the hill where the rocks started going vertical and I could see it in Shelli’s eyes… “Hey, let’s go up there”. I quickly agreed but Erika was a bit more hesitant, but she was finally convinced and we started climbing up the rocks. The rocks would be completely vertical for about 10 or 15 feet and then we would have a break in the rock and it would be about 20 feet of almost vertical but very loose rock. You could not trust any hand holds or foot holds because even in the larger rock that looked stable, there were many times that we would slide our hands on top of the rock and it would just break loose. It took us another 30 min but we climbed about 200 feet to the top of the first pinnacle.
Part of what we had to come up
The three of us on top
Shelli walking the ridge (about 3 feet wide)
Our View
Me and sister on top of the world

We figured that our adrenaline had flown enough for the day and started looking for a way down (it was too steep to go down the way we came up). We found a way down on the other side of the mountain and slowly started clambering down.
This was not even the steepest part.

We had to be careful not to walk directly below each other because if just one tiny rock was knocked loose, it would fall and start knocking larger rocks loose and eventually lead to a small rush of falling rocks, and being caught underneath that would have been a quick ending to the hike. So I would get down a certain distance and move over to the side and let the other two come to that point, and we made our way down the entire slope that way. We got back down to where our snowshoes were at, took a few minutes to catch our breath and started going back down the snowy part of the hill toward the road.
We finally made it down to the road and started walking back to the car. We got down to the main road and stopped in Red Lodge to return Erika’s snowshoes and get some coffee. Once back to Billings we all grabbed showers and went out to eat with Jesse. When we got back we were pretty beat and went to bed.


  1. That Subaru would have made it if it was a Honda.
    You guys are indeed a crazy bunch. I'm sure the view was worth it. Glad to see u made it down safe.