Big Horn County High Point Trip Report

Cloud Peak

Dates: July 31 - August 2, 2002
Author: Jerry Brekhus

I met Edward Earl by West Tensleep Lake and we backpacked 6.5 miles to Misty Moon Lake, gaining 1150 feet. Our campsite was in the open overlooking the lake.

The next morning, the sky was fair and we started hiking around 6 a.m. The trail continues over a minor pass to the north on the Solitude trail. Stay on the trail until a waterfall on Paintrock Creek is visible. Leave the trail and cross Paintrock Creek. (On Aug. 1, we made a dry crossing on rocks.) Head uphill to the left of the waterfall.

From there on, expect a lot of picking your way over or around furniture-sized boulders. Cairns will help you choose your route. I stashed my hiking stick at 11,300 feet. Some have reported the ridge at 12,400 feet as "knife-edged", but there is actually room to keep a fair piece of terra firma on both sides, between you and the edges of the precipices.

We reached the summit at 11:15 a.m. My Avocet GPS showed 3320 feet of vertical gain from Misty Moon. We signed the register and looked around for about an hour. The view on the east side seems almost straight down to the glacier far below. Wow! Travel distance from Misty Moon to summit is 5.5 miles one-way.

My travel was slower than Edward's, especially on the way down. I took almost as much time on the descent as on the way up. He scouted on ahead and recovered my hiking stick, and was sitting by it waiting for me when I got there.

The next day we packed out and headed to Montana.