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Stefan
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Stefan
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 12:02 pm 
I used to think the Wind River Range had a lot of lakes.  They do.  My opinion has now been upped by the Beartooths.  The Beartooths are a Lake Baggers wet dream.  This is another area similar to the Enchantments…but on steroids…..with no people and no permits required!  The efforts of Matt B., Carla S., Don B., Brett D., and Kirsten H. accompanied myself on this sojourn.  What a fantastic fun group to be around!
I am a peakbagger.  I was astounded at the amount of lakes/tarns that we came across.  I counted that we came across 85 different lakes and tarns in 8 days.

Day 1 Island Lake to Albino Lake and climbing Lonesome Mtn
Well, we drove in two different ways to the trailhead.  I screwed up.  There is also some major construction on the Beartooth Highway west of Beartooth lake.  Our time for start was at 12:30pm….instead it could have been 8:00am!  So we basically took the trail towards Beauty Lake from Island Lake trailhead, took the cuttoff trail towards Becker Lake and and then made our camp at Albino Lake.  We then went up easy slabs and slopes to both summits of Lonsome.  At camp at 7:30.  Some haze.  The hike…basically you start out in awesome country!  That evening we were surprised by 5 goats that were WANTING salt and definitely did not care that humans were in their territory!  They ran through camp.


Day 2.  Albino Lake to Triskele Lake with climbing Spirit Mountain
We left Albino Lake around 8:00, dropped our packs on the south side of Jasper and then went up Spirit Mountain.  Um.  Spirit Mountain has a lot of boulders.  A lot.  Not scree.  Boulders.  This took a lot of time.  A lot of time.  Once we reached the top…then it was plateau walking to the summit.  Not recommended for a peak.  Carla came up with the new name:  “DeSpirit” Mountain.  We went by some lakes on the way…and then when we came across our packs…we came across more lakes on the the way to Triskele Lake.  The wind was dominant this day and the fires had a slight impact on the blueness of the sky.  We were tired when we got to Triskele Lake.  That night it rained and hailed—this was the ONLY time we had precipitation during the entire backpacking section. The ONLY time.
Day 3 Triskele Lake to Flat Rock Lake with climbing Sky Pilot Mountain
Left Triskele Lake at 7:30.   If Sky Pilot turned out to be like “De-Spirit” mountain, then we would say, “no thank you”  Well, the walk to Donelson Lake was pleasant.  And Donelson Lake is gorgeous just like most of the lakes, and then the hike up to Sky Pilot only had ONE boulder field….but the wind was still really harsh this day.  The plateau walk was like the pictures of Northern Scotland.  Pretty easy except fo the wind.  And then the walk from Donelson to Flat Rock was absolutely gorgeous with a dip into Pleiades Lakes—which were terrific!  Not as cold as Washington standards, but colder than the Sierras.  FYI:  There is a partial trail east of Crystal Lake and  north of the stream feeding Crystal Lake that seems to be used a way from the Pleiades to Maryott Lake.  Camp at Flat Rock on the southwest side of the lake.  Smoke haze gone!


Day 4.  We split up.  3 of us went to do Castle Mountain.  3 went to do peak 11,160+  We all had fun….but the wind at the higher elevation was still brutally cold!  Castle Mountain route stayed mostly to the east side of the ravine staying on slabs as much as possible and a small grass way with slabs was used.  The top plateau was once again encountered with a long way to the top that you can see.  Return to camp and sleep another night at Flat Rock Lake.


Day 5.  Flat Rock Lake to Copepod/Cladocera/Unknown Lake, then up to Snowbank and then down to Big Butte Lake.
The walk to the unknown lake was cool passing again more and more and more lakes. The walk up to Snowbank was great!  But still a lot of scree.  No more strong winds!  The walk down the waterway to Big Butte had its own little gems of lakes/tarns.  We camped at the beach on the northeast section of Big Butte Lake.


Day 6.  Big Butte to Z Lake.  Then climb Summit Mountain.
Did I say the lakes were gorgeous on this walk.  I knew that Z lake would take the prize from the Google Earth photo you can see.  Z Lake in my opinion was the best lake of all the lakes we ever visited.  And did I tell you there is no one around?  The walk up to Summit mountain was fairly straightforward passing on the east side of Red Rock Lakes.  Swim time was had at Z lake!  Do not skip Z Lake!


Day 7 Z Lake to Granite Lake with a walk up Crazy Mountain
More cross country to more spectacular lakes.  Ho hum.  Par for the course now.  Eventually we came to a trail again….and finally saw tents…but no people. Strange.  We were on trail now and we saw no one until we came to one person on Granite Lake.  Cool fun lake to swim in just east of Crazy Mountain was had.  The trail down from Lake Elaine to Granite was rather unpleasant for one section.  We eventually found a nice camp on the NW section of Granite Lake on the west side of the inlet stream.


Day 8.  Granite Lake to Clay Butte Lookout trailhead.
Cross some streams several times requires one to take of shoes.  Walk in open meadows.  Came across a horse packer.  Riding in the back of a pickup truck through the construction zone.  This is Wyoming hiking!


Here is the map if anyone is interested:
https://caltopo.com/m/TK5C
Here are all the pictures:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWyrRa9

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Art is an adventure.

Songs2, silence, Mesahchie Mark, RichP, Tom, Opus, HitTheTrail, mosey, Anne Elk, Eric Gilbertson, Randito, rubywrangler, olderthanIusedtobe, awilsondc, call-151, reststep  GaliWalker
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reststep
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reststep
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 12:22 pm 
Yay, there’s a couple of pictures of people swimming. How many lakes did Matt swim 🏊🏾‍♀️ In?

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 2:57 pm 
Awesome! Definitely on my Bucket List...I think I will talk my partner into going there next year instead of the Winds.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 3:38 pm 
Nice TR, thanks for sharing.

I've made several forays into the Beartooths.  Never spent that many days in the backcountry in one outing though.  Probably hit about a half dozen different trailheads, all kinds of good stuff in there.  And I hate to alarm the OP, but you've barely even scratched the surface for lakes there!  biggrin.gif

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Rich Baldwin
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 4:42 pm 
Very nice, Stefan. I hope to visit the area with my son next year. I will be studying your route. Thanks for posting.

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raising3hikers
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 6:03 pm 
looks like great times!  i really hope to visit that area someday

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Eric Eames
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iron
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iron
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 7:20 pm 
looks okay, but you're missing the 18 miles of treed approach trail.

mosey
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raising3hikers
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 7:24 pm 
iron wrote:
looks okay, but you're missing the 18 miles of treed approach trail.

Haha!!

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Eric Eames
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Matt
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Matt
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 11:15 pm 
reststep wrote:
Yay, there’s a couple of pictures of people swimming. How many lakes did Matt swim 🏊🏾‍♀️ In?

I swam in 10 lakes.  8 of those were also swum in by other people.

Better question would be: how many lakes did Don dive into?  I think it's at least half a dozen.

Or, which lake had the most repeat swims?  I think several people swam in Z Lake multiple times.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Redwic
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PostThu Aug 26, 2021 3:11 pm 
I was disappointed to have not been able to go on this trip due to a couple of schedule conflicts.

But I love the recap and photos. Looks like fun!

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Year 2021: 50 pounds lighter but not 50 points brighter.
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Bushwacker
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Bushwacker
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 7:24 am 
Outstanding!!!!!

up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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"Wait by the river long enough and the bodies of your enemies will float by"...Sun Tsu
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Eric Hansen
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Eric Hansen
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 7:05 pm 
SHHHHH Don't tell people about this place, especially those with slightly aging knees rebelling at the thought of another 5,000' ascent with a full load.

You drive to 9, 500'. Gradually ascend a little more into the alpine, a broad lake filled (many with trout) plateau filled with almost endless moderate off trail routes. Peaks rising another 1 to 2 thousand feet. Not much of a downside except mosquitos and because it is a big chunk of high country it seems to attract any little scrap of weather coming through.

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contour5
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 12:31 pm 
Wow! Total sensory overload. That is some fine looking terrain.

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rmottenad
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PostWed Sep 01, 2021 2:10 pm 
Thanks for the report! Looks amazing! My friend and I heading out from 9/5 to 9/9 to do almost exactly your route but extending out to Upper Aero Lake and climbing Glacier Peak; this is wonderful beta smile.gif

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Eric Hansen
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Eric Hansen
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PostWed Sep 01, 2021 2:51 pm 
Aero Lakes, Glacier Peak two thumbs up. Fish one day, peak bag the next. Repeat. Be happy. Memory has someone here posting of a griz hanging out by the lakes a year or two back.

rmottenad
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