Yesterday, Sarah and I kicked off our alpine rock climbing season by doing The Ramp, a 5 pitch (750′) 5.8 trad climb in the East Rosebud Canyon area of the Beartooth mountains here in Montana. It was a great way to work out some of the winter kinks in our multi-pitch climbing and get psyched for season! I’ve included pictures and route beta below for anyone wanting to do the climb.
The Ramp is a fantastic moderate route with great views, solid rock, and consistently fun and engaging climbing. The cruxes are short and well protected, making it a good route for newer trad leaders with the appropriate multi-pitch skills.
P1: Start from the top of the ledge, heading up under the dead tree. Pass a bush, then pull the crux mini-roof (harder for large hands) in a few moves. The angle lessens and the splitter crack continues up to a few small ledges (one with a bush, the other with a small tree). Build a belay here. (5.8, 120′)
P2: Continue up slabby, somewhat vegitated cracks, to a large, flat ledge on the climbers left. Comfy belay. (5.6, 120′)
P3: Seems to be a few options here. I chose to stay on the far left side of the face, following cracks. Once the angle steepened, I traversed right and popped out on the belay ledge with several stunted pine trees (which you can see from the previous belay). It may be possible to traverse sooner. (5.5, 170′)
P4: Continue up from the left side of the belay ledge, following the crack past several small bushes, a pine tree and one dead tree. There are a few small cruxy sections on this, not the least of which are some slab moves getting on to the next belay ledge. Build a belay at the base of the headwall dihedrals. (5.6, 190′)
P5: Two options: If you want to keep it easier, do the wide dihedral on the right side of the ledge, which is apparently 5.7/8 for just a move or two at the bottom. We chose to go out the mini-roof hand crack just to the left, which provides a really interesting sequence up higher through a slug shaped feature. Continue up through increasingly lichened rock until you reach a comfy belay. (5.9, 140′)
From the top, there seem to be two options. The first is rappelling Rosina’s Other Side (SW Face, climbers left from the top of the route) on bolted anchors, which one source says requires 2 ropes. Another says there is a block with slings in the same general area that can be rappelled for 100′ down a dihedral, followed by another, shorter tree rappel down two steps. From there, you hike down the gully.
We chose to walk off, which involves continuing up and right (north) off the Ramp formation, till you can easily cross the upper gully. Continue down on the other side, hiking with some 3rd or low 4th class down climbing thrown in. About half way down, the trail drops into the gully itself (following cairns) and makes a few 4th, then 5th class moves down the cliff face to reach the gully bottom. I would not recommend the walk off descent if you are not comfortable with big exposure and bad fall consequences. The moves aren’t too bad, given a cool head, but there is some loose rock that has to be negotiated. It might be possible to rig a rappel here, but it would require leaving gear as there are no good trees or horns to sling. After reaching the bottom of the gully, continue down, trending right. Eventually you’ll be forced into a trough/chimney, that has a few hard moves to get established in. Once again, this is 4th/low 5th class, with dangerous exposure, and no easy rappelling option. After negotiating the chimney, the rest of the way down is pretty mellow, depending on your path. If you left a pack at the base, you pop out right next to it. At a casual, onsighting pace, it took us around 45 minutes to get back to the start of the climb.
The Ramp is located just after East Rosebud road becomes dirt (again) and crosses over the creek. (It is the center, clean, ramp like formation in the top photo of this post.) We parked in the first major pullout on the left (45.218568, -109.624596), and hiked up the hill to the west for 45 minutes to reach the base. There is a trail of sorts, although it is hard to find. The best way to locate it, as well as the path of least resistance, involves reaching the granite mounds on the hillside, and then continuing up them, sticking mostly to the right hand (north) side till you find cairns that link bushy sections with strips of scree. The route itself starts where the main crack systems reach a ledge of sorts, near a dead tree, just to the right of a large, dark dihedral (GPS Location: 45°13’16.71″N, 109°37’52.72″W).
We brought doubles in C4 #.75-3, with a large selection of smaller cams, including some Metolius offsets, as well as a single set of nuts and many (8-10) single length slings. This seemed adequate, although we definitely ran it out on the easier terrain. If you want to sew it up, triples in the larger sizes would be necessary. There are no bolted anchors on the entire climb.
I would like to give credit to Wood and Iron Works page for good beta (and a nice topo), which we used for this climb. Check out their page for other Beartooth Mountains climbing.
(Disclaimer: If you decide to use this beta, you take all responsibility. I’ve done my best to write this from memory, but I may have made mistakes. It is your job to exercise good judgment and not just follow blindly… 🙂