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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone here done the Beartooth pass climb from the Cooke Montana side? I'm here on vacation with the family and brought a trainer bike (Crockett with Canti brakes) and Kurt Kinetic to try not to lose too much fitness while we tour Yellowstone and after driving through this pass a few days ago was thinking I might try to take a ride up that but the traffic looks a little high speed and there doesn't seem to be too much room on the sides. Thoughts on how safe this would be? I have a bright rear flasher light and front I can use. Not feeling too keen on the decent with Canti's really, but guess it's manageable.
 

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I don't have any local info for you but.... if there is no shoulder, and you are in RV land, and they are going downhill @ 65mph, a flashing red light is not much for crash protection. Remember, you are in montana, land of the not to be regulated.
 

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I don't have any local info for you but.... if there is no shoulder, and you are in RV land, and they are going downhill @ 65mph, a flashing red light is not much for crash protection. Remember, you are in montana, land of the not to be regulated.
I promise you that RVs will not be driving up or down that pass at 65mph. On every two lane mountain pass that I have ridden (which is a great many) a bicycle is much faster on the descent than an RV. The roads are much too narrow and twisty for that kind of speed.

While I have not ridden Beartooth Pass, it is on my bucket list as coming up the other side (from the NE) is considered to be one of the great climbs in the world for bicyclists - so it must get a decent number of cyclists doing it.
 

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I just drove it last week from Cooke to Red Lodge with my first round of summer guests. A couple observations;

- I believe the much heralded "official" hill climb happens during brief window when the road is plowed out in the spring but before they open it to cars. I could be wrong about that.

- There were a couple folks pedaling up from Red Lodge - causing about 8 cars to be backed up behind them through the switchbacks. I would not be comfortable on a bike in that situation nor would I be happy in my car.

- 45 mph is about the speed that cars can drive in the narrow, shoulder-less, sections.

- A far bigger concern than MT being "the land of not to be regulated", it is the land of summer tourists who have never seen mountains, July skiers, antelope, or twisty mountain roads. To say they are distracted is an understatement. You couldn't pay me to ride Y-stone or the Beartooth highway this time of year, although I did notice quite a few people doing that into Cooke City 2 weeks ago (I've spent about a month per year working up there for the past 15 years).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I haven't seen any cyclists on it but there are some signs about them so it might just be that I'm too late in the day. I think I'll pass though, the traffic speed, blind turns and tourists looking around make it a bit to precarious for my taste. I've done the Smokies climbs like Clingmans dome a couple times and seems safer there for some reason, mayb just that there are more cyclists reguarly there make it safer. The other side of the pass is definitely spectacular and would be awesome without cars!
 
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