Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming
(A first ascent?)

30 Jun 1991 - by Bob Carson


Quintuple Peaks looking north from west Beartooth Pass summit, elevation 11,011 feet (the pass itself is 10,947 feet). The highest (elevation 10,090 feet) of the five peaks is on the east (right), near a clump of trees at the top of the cliff. The only break in the cliffs surrounding Quintuple Peaks is a talus below and behind that summit, with two snowfields at the base. An arete connects Quintuple Peaks to Beartooth Pass. Behind the mountain is the Rock Creek glacial trough. Photo taken 14 June 2006.

Teaching geology for the University of Pittsburgh's honors program in Clarks Fork Valley, Wyoming, I invited students to attempt to climb Quintuple Peaks. Jennifer Corwin, Larry Chough, David Bingham, and I drove northeast over Beartooth Pass almost to Red Lodge, Montana. At the bottom of the pass, we doubled back to go southwest up the dirt road along Rock Creek until we got to the base of Quintuple Peaks near the Montana-Wyoming border. We bushwhacked south up the hanging valley that leads toward Mirror Lake, turning west to scramble about 800 feet up a talus. Cliffs and five peaks surround the mountain's concave top; in the center is tarn from which a waterfall plunges 1400 feet into the glacial trough to the northwest. Amazing was the total lack of evidence that humans had ever been there: no litter, no fire pit, no cigarette butts, and no benchmarks. The tarn was named Lake Jennifer; finding a natural arch, we named it Larry's Arch. From the tarn we ascended 500 feet to the top of the highest peak (10,090 feet), which was christened Dave's Block; almost 900 feet below us was Mirror Lake.

Quintuple Peaks is not listed in the comprehensive guidebook to Wyoming mountains (O. H. Bonney and L. G. Bonney, 1977, Guide to the Wyoming Mountains and Wilderness Areas, third, revised edition: Chicago, Sage Books, 701 p.), nor in Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone: A Mountaineering History and Guide (Thomas Turiano, 2003). On the Internet I find no evidence of ascents until 2016, when a skier got to the lake and the second-highest peak, the west summit (elevation 9997 feet). Skiing the Quintuple Peak North Couloir from the west summit on 19 May 2016 and 8 June 2020 is listed in the Powder Project (although the range is incorrectly called Absaroka). No ascents are mentioned in PeakVisor, SummitPost, Peakbagger, Climber, etc. This may be my only first ascent!

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