Ascent of Adair Ridge (5,366 ft.)
in Montana's Glacier National Park
July 12-14, 2022
Adair Ridge in Glacier National Park is a low ridge rising above the south side of Logging Lake. The designated Wilderness Campsites in that valley, however, are on the north side of Logging Lake. Add the very dense and brushy forest in the Logging Valley and you have all the ingredients for an unusual ascent of a rarely visited location. After all who would want to go there? We deemed it impractical to bushwhack all around Logging Lake so we planned a more direct route using inflatable pack rafts. We would cross Logging Lake at its narrowest point. We originally planned this adventure for the summer of 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in all of Glacier's waters being closed to boating (even non-motorized boats) because the park didn't have the staff to inspect watercraft for non native invasive aquatic species. We tried again in 2021 but a forest fire to the west outside of Glacier resulted in the park closing several valleys to entry as a safety measure. One of these was the Logging drainage. Everything finally came together in July 2022 for a successful ascent.
Photos by Ralph Thornton and Brian Kennedy
|This three day adventure began with an eleven mile hike on a brushy trail from the inside North Fork Road in Glacier National Park to the Adair Wilderness Campsite about halfway up the length of Logging Lake. We selected the largest, flattest campsite, hung our food on the bear pole and sent up our tents.
|Once we had camp organized we headed down to the lake shore. THe lake was calm and the skies were clear. I hoped it would be that way in the morning.
|To save time the follwing morning we inflated the pack rafts. Brian had rented mine and the only raft they had left was a little smaller than I would have liked. Didn't really matter though because we only had to paddle across the narrowest part of the lake.
|After getting the rafts inflated and making sure they didn't leak we tied them to a tree in the woods just in case the wind came up over night.
|We scouted Adair ridge across the lake from our camp. The dead trees were from a forest fire several years ago. We could tell the hike up the slope on the other side would be interesting. But heck it's only 1,500 feet of elevation gain. It couldn't be that hard could it?
|We also got a nice look at Wolf Gun Mountain. Brian and I had climbed tis peak some years ago on a memorable mountaineering adventure that provided plenty of excitement. It's always fun to reminisce about good times. In this photo the summit of Wolf Gun is what looks like a smaller peak in the distance.
|Upon heading down to the lake the following morning we were concerned that the weather had changed. But the rainbow might be a good omen, even if it meant there was rain.
|Brian is packing the last things into his raft. We put our climbing packs in large plastic garbage bags to keep them dry. Same for our hiking boots. You might notice a few raindrops on the surface of the lake
|I think I'm ready to go. I am a little nervous because I've never paddled a pack raft before. Plenty of canoe trips but never in something so small.
|Brian lead the way. We got about halfway across when thunder roared and a heavier rain began to fall.
|There was a short lived splash of sunlight just fore the rain started in ernest.
|Fortunately the rain didn't last too long. Just enough to get us and all the bushes wet. This is the view we got from shore after stashing our rafts under some alder bushes.
|The kind of climbing requires patience. We went under, over, through and around a lot of stuff. The rain came in periodic showers that kept things wet and slippery.
|I'm trying to be patient so I don't slip off the wet log.
|Some time around 1:00 pm we reached the high point of the ridge. The views weren't too good but at least it was all downhill, more or less, to the lake.
|There was some beargrass blooming on the ridge. In the distance we thought we could see part of Anaconda Peak. We reached that summit the day after climbing Wolf Gun.
|Just as we left the high point of Adair Ridge it began to rain. That shower only lasted a few minutes. It was the last rain of the day. By the time we paddled back to camp the skies were clearing nicely.
|Our last day featured the 11 mile hike back to the North Fork Road and a wonderful dinner with a couple of beers at the Northern Lights Saloon.