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Monday, June 5, 2017

Splitboarding the Beartooth Highway

Never had I ever skied the infamous Beartooth Highway headwalls until now. The highway opened last weekend but since I was in the Tetons and elsewhere, I couldnt get there until weekend 2. My friends Luke and Evan joined me for the skiing and urban camping part while Manfred stayed in 'camp' sun bathing. I say urban camping because we got to stay with my in-law's parents a little ways south of Red Lodge. We stopped in Roscoe for dinner before we got to Red Lodge where we closed down the Snow Creek bar. Needless to say we didnt head up the pass very early on Saturday. We spent the day getting 3 laps on the Gardner Headwall. The longest line is probably about 1k' vertical. This ski requires hitchiking to the top, (obviously) skiing down, then a short uphill walk or skin (depending on your gear) from the bottom. We ended up at the Snow Creek bar again Saturday night but meandered away before it was too late. Sunday was even warmer and our goal was the Rock Creek headwall. We parked at the base of the snowfield/headwall and hitchhiked to the top. You have to walk a short flat ways across the plateau before you can strap in and go. The Rock Creek headwall is a lot longer and gets a lot more steep. According to my phone (Ski Tracks app) I hit a 57* slope at some point. Thats not super steep but its a lot steeper than most skiing you do in the backcountry or on a resort. We managed two laps before we succumbed to the heat and began the long journey home. I cant believe I have never spent a weekend up there skiing like we did. This is definitely going to become a tradition!
Saturday. Gardner Headwall.

Bongwater Ale goes everywhere with me these days. This is the bottom of the Gardner headwall looking up at the walk out.

We skied skiers left of the dotted line for run one. Then the dotted line for round 2. Luke and I tried to get in to the Showtime(?) couloir for our last lap but missed the entrance and skied skiers right of the bluffs.
The Don made an appearance.

I flew a micro kite behind me during our first run (it actually worked!). Here you can see the tails blowing in the wind.

I swear in not peeing. Snow Creek Saloon: Dance to the beat of your own drum!
The Rock Creek Headwall.
You can barely make out the cars in the parking lot at the base of the snow. ~1500'

Some serious parking lot loitering going on. L-R Me, Luke, Evan
Looking over at the highway we just hitchiked up.

Look out below! Evans dropping!
About a 25 minute walk across the flat to the top of the Rock Creek headwall.

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