The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the “roof top of Montana” bordering the north side of Yellowstone Park, is a mecca for backpackers with a yen for high-altitude routes and catching fish in alpine lakes even in the “shoulder season” after Labor Day. The key, as Outdoors editor Rich Landers points out in his story, Cold Shoulder
, is to have a backup plan when the weather goes foul. These photos will take you through the lows and highs of a week-long trip as Landers and his two friends hike in to the wrath of stormy weather in the Beartooths before retreating to Cooke City, Mont., to dry out and enjoy wildlife watching in Yellowstone. When the weather clears, they head back into the wilderness to savor sunny days and great fly fishing at a number of lakes they explored. The Beartooths claim a lion’s share of the Treasure State’s high distinctions. Not only does it include Granite Peak, the highest point in the state at 12,799 feet, the wilderness of 943,648 acres also includes the 42 highest peaks in Montana and about 300 of the state’s 1,000 high-mountain fishing lakes.