Beartooth Climbing

Bear's Face, SW-Butress, 5.8-5.9

More pictures to come

Bear's Face (aka St.John's)

SW-Buttress, 9 pitches, 5.8-5.9

The Bearís Face called St. Johns by local ranchers is an intimidating wall looming over the well traveled Beaten Path Trail between Elk and Rimrock Lakes. It's SW-Buttress is situated on the very right edge of the wall and avoids all the difficulties and bad rock of the main face.


USGS 7.5 min series Alpine Quadrangle


From Red Lodge or Columbus take Highway 78 to Roscoe. Follow East Rosebud Road south. Follow it all the way to East Rosebud Lake. Take the trail south towards Cooke City. Hike past Elk Lake until you see the Bearís Face above to your left. Scramble up the talus slopes to the bottom of the cliff. Move right and up to the right end of the Bearís Face. Follow ramps and ledges up further right until you are on top of the SW ridge where the climb starts.

Route Description:

The SW-Buttress has 4 tiers. Attached topo describes only the upper three tiers of which only the last tier, the headwall (last 4 pitches) is technical climbing. The first tier climbing is reported to start not far from the point where the trail meets the right corner of the cliff.


Consider rappelling even if it costs gear. The walk down is longer than the climb up. If you want to walk down anyway. Here is how it goes: From the edge of the cliff walk and scramble up until you reach the highest point. Lower 5th class climbing gets you down in a notch between St.Johnís summit and the next cliff. More lower 5th class up finally gets you to the main plateau. From here walk and bush whack down east until you get to Five Mile Creek which leads you down to the trail after much more bush whacking and loose scree.

First Ascent:

Jim Langdon & Dougal McCarty climbed the SW-Buttress in the 1970s including the lower part right off the trail and rated it 5.9/A2.