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Sunlit Summit

Bete Noire

Elevation: 13,213 ft.

Prominence: 1,059 ft.

Isolation: 2.6 miles

Bete Noire Guidebook


Despite its status as one of a select few Wyoming 13ers with more than 1,000 ft. of topographic prominence, Bete Noire is much-maligned by earlier guidebooks as boring and out-of-the-way. Indeed, this old peneplain remnant is flat-topped and has no established technical routes, but its remote location between the North Fork of Bull Lake Creek and the Alpine Lakes district provides a sense of mystique. Additionally, since Bete Noire is a couple miles east of the Continental Divide, its summit provides an exceptional panoramic view of the Wind River crest from Knife Point to Febbas. This peak is sometimes also referred to as the Brown Cliffs Highpoint since it sits at the culmination of the Brown Cliffs ridgeline.

General Considerations

Bete Noire is one of only a few 13ers in the northern Wind River Range that don’t require any scrambling. However, easy does not equal safe, and the talus fields in this area are particularly unstable; caution is advised whenever crossing loose slopes. The route between Lake 11495 and Lake 10980 (on the east side of Bete Noire) is unofficially named Bloody Hell Pass and was the site of a fatal accident when a backpacker became inextricably trapped by a shifting talus block. Do not let your guard down in these remote mountains, even when the route seems “easy.”

Route 1: West Slopes – Class 2, Mellow Snow

Similar to Knife Point Mountain’s standard route, the main challenge is in reaching Alpine Lakes Pass, the col between Knife Point Creek and the Alpine Lakes. The pass can be gained as part of a longer backpacking trip or via a traverse of the Knife Point Glacier (mellow snow, potentially crevassed, icy in the late season) from Indian Pass after approaching from the Island Lake area.

From Alpine Lakes Pass, hike northeast up steep and unstable talus, skirting outcrops on the ridge to climber’s left. When feasible, traverse right on loose scree and unstable blocks to reach the broad plateau east of Point 12860. From here, climb east up another talus field to reach the summit area.

Bete Noire Map

Bete Noire Panorama

Bete Noire Photos

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