An Eight Day Trip to the Fifty Mountain and Trapper Peak
areas of Glacier National Park - August 11-18, 2011
Ron and April had never been to Fifty Mountain in Glacier National Park so we decided to explore that area and climb a few peaks. While we were there we thought we'd also head further west and see if we could find some old registers that a friend and I had left on Trapper Peak and Mount Geduhn in 1996. The trip turned out to be an exceptional one. We reached the summit of Cathedral Peak, Mount Kipp, Trapper Peak and also walked to the top of West Flattop and Flattop Mountain.
|Our adventure began at Packers Roost. After a short walk we crossed Cattle Queen Creek and began the long hot slog up Flattop Mountain. We had 3,585 feet of elevation to gain that day.|
|The day was hot! The packs were heavy. We stopped to rest at the open meadows near the top of Flattop Mountain.
Below: Looks like neither April or Ron are anxious to pick those packs up.
|We reached Fifty Mountain just as it began to rain. We waited for it to stop, then pitched our tents and ate dinner.
The next morning (left) dawned clear and beautiful. We planed on climbing Cathedral Peak.
|As we hike north toward the saddle north of Fifty Mountain we spotted some movement in the meadows off to our left.|
|Three grizzly bears were digging up the meadows looking for tasty treats. We watched them dig and cavort for quite some time (left and below).|
|Eventually the bears headed west over the ridge, seemingly going in the direction we would take the following day. After the bears disappeared we continued north to begin our climb of Cathedral Peak.|
|Ron (left) and April enjoying a luncheon on the lower slopes of Cathedral.|
|Clouds gathered around the mountains and it seemed our climb might be threatened. But as we gained elevation the weather began to improve.|
|On the summit of Cathedral Peak, 9,045 feet.|
|Below: This is definitely one of my favorite views in Glacier National Park. Sue Lake lies just south of the summit. In the middle right is Mount Kipp. The skyline is dominated by Mount Merritt on the left and Ipasha Peak in the center. Between them is the unclimbed Lithoid Cusp.|
|The register inside this tube was soaking wet. We did not try to extract it from the tube. Instead like others before us we wrote our names on the outside.|
|April and Ron on the summit with Waterton Lake in the background.|
|Looking south along the Continental divide our view included Mount Gould with the horizontal snow bands that are visible from the Many Glacier area.
Below: Looking straight down Waterton Lake. The townsite was clearly visible in our binoculars. The foreground is dominated by Wahcheechee Mountain, Stoney Indian Pass and Lake and mighty Mount Cleveland.
|The next day we headed west. We walked to the highest point of West Flattop Mountain (below) before reaching our camp near Trapper Peak.|
|The afternoon was pleasant but we had rain the following night.|
|It's almost sunset and the mountains are beginning to glow.|
|After the rain and drizzle of the previous night the morning dawned clear. Vulture Peak and Nahsukin Mountain are reflected in a snowmelt pond.|
|We took advantage of the clear morning to climb Trapper Peak.|
|As we approached the summit the views were spectacular. They included Mount Cleveland, Cathedral Peak (which we had climbed two days earlier), Mount Kipp (which we hoped to climb later on this trip), Mount Merritt and other mountains.
Digging around under the summit cairn we found the old film can register than Bill Blunk and I placed on Trapper Peak in 1996. The can was somewhat crushed but the paper inside was in good shape. We added our names to the list.
|Above Left: The huge massif of Vulture Peak and South Vulture Peak.
Left: Rainbow Peak (left) and Mount Carter, which Ron and I had climbed in 2010. Rainbow Glacier fills the area between those big mountains.
|We spent quite a bit of time relaxing and enjoying the view from the summit of Trapper Peak.|
|We hoped to climb Mount Geduhn the following day.|
|Our plans for Mount Geduhn didn't look too good in the morning but we headed out for the attempt.|
|For a while the clouds seemed to lift. We had plenty of sunshine and some good views on the ridge leading to the summit of Mount Geduhn. But as we continued to climb dark clouds began to lower over the mountains and some rain squalls could be seen in the distance. Not wanting to get caught on the high and difficult ridge in a storm we began our retreat to camp.|
|We chose wisely, as they say. Rain came in the late afternoon and continued off and on most of the night. We spent some of the following morning drying out before packing up and beginning our trek back toward Fifty Mountain.|
|Once back at Fifty Mountain we set up camp and proceeded to climb Mount Kipp (above).
Left: April on the summit with Mount Cleveland in the background.
|The views included Cathedral Peak which is to the left of Ron in this view/|
|Looking south toward Mount Gould from Mount Kipp.|
|Another view of Sue Lake and Cathedral Peak.|
|After a windy but pleasant stay on the summit of Mount Kipp we descended to the Highline Trail and walked up to the Sue Lake Overlook. A mountain goat watched us from the safety of some high cliffs.
After another pleasant evening in camp that night we packed up and headed back to Packers Roost. Going out we had to gain about 545 feet in elevation but our trip out included 3,585 feet of descent. We arrived at Packers Roost tired and sweaty but some dinner and refreshing beverages took care of that!