Tag Archives: yellowstone

Eye of the Pyramid

Located in the northeastern sector of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Beartooth mountain range contains the highest peaks in Montana with more than twenty summits soaring to over 12,000 feet elevation.

Pyramid Mountain is a ‘twelver located on the Fishtail Plateau where the images in this feature were captured.  From its distant vantage on the range’s northern fringe, the south-facing views from Pyramid’s slopes offer a unique panorama containing almost all of the range’s highest points, including Montana’s tallest mountain, 12,799-foot Granite Peak.

Pyramid Mtn 20151613-14-pano(048-056).jpg
Click on the image for an expanded view of the Beartooth Range.

Getting to this location is no easy task.  Having climbed most of the peaks pictured in these images myself, I’d have to say that Pyramid was one of the most strenuous I’ve attempted.  This experts-only, off-trail route gains an incredibly steep 6,000 feet elevation over four miles of arduous boulder scrambling and wilderness bushwacking.  Four miles may not sound like a long hike, but the difficult terrain makes it an all-day (or two-day) adventure with no bailout if something goes wrong.  Use extra caution if you go.

Pyramid Mtn 20150613-14-025
Looking across the West Rosebud drainage toward Granite Peak

 

Oil Refinery Fail Leads to Unique Scenery

Sacrifice Cliff A wet-gas compressor failure at a local oil refinery shot large flames from a flare stack yesterday.  I happened to be returning home from a mostly unproductive photo shoot near the area last night when I happened to notice the sandstone walls of Sacrifice Cliff alight in the roaring flames downstream from Coulson Park.  In a statement issued by the refinery, they are in the process of restoring normal operations, and air quality levels are currently of no public concern.  You can read the full article here.

A Wintery Day at Four Dances Natural Area

This is one of my favorite places to go hiking and photographing in the Billings area simply for its variety of scenic quality.  Four Dances is located on a plateau near Pictograph State Park approximately two miles east of downtown Billings, Montana.  The plateau edges with cliffs that drop 200-500 feet to the Yellowstone River.  The area is comprised of 765 acres of undeveloped open space, native to sagebrush/grassland, ponderosa pine, and Yellowstone River cottonwood.  It’s also a protected area that has played an important role in the recovery of the endangered peregrine falcons that nest in the cliffs here from April through August.

On this January outing, I saw no falcons of course, but had a fun time hiking through the fresh snow and enjoying the relative solitude overlooking the city.