Ascent of Great Northern Mountain on 2014-06-22

Climber: Duncan Lennon

Others in Party:Jesse
Date:Sunday, June 22, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Great Northern Mountain
    Elevation:8705 ft / 2653 m

Ascent Trip Report

Six of us from the Glacier Park Trail Crew climbed on this day; five reached the summit. Our friend had skied the Stanton Glacier the day prior, so we knew the ridge would be accessible at least to a certain point, but we didn't know whether we could manage the summit. The climbers' trail is steep but very good for the first mile to the crest of the main ridge. From here it disappeared periodically under snow, but looked solid and well-trodden where it was visible. We followed it for a long way (staying on the ridgetop whenever possible) to a short rock rib. Here, one member of the party opted for a long break while the rest of us pushed on. The rock rib was easy but narrow, threading about two feet wide between the corniced upper edge of the glacier and a decent cliff dropoff on the other side. Continuing on the ridge, we reached unconsolidated snow on the south face from a recent storm. This snow covered what I'd imagine would be a class 2 game trail in later summer. Here we met another climber who had turned back. We tried it but turned back quickly due to concerns about sloughing (evidence of which was ample). Our only option seemed to be a steep and icy gully, which contained some of the older, more solid snow left over from the winter, leading to the gentle ridge above. I led up it, determining that it was only class 4, and since we all had ice axes, the others quickly followed. The only obstacle between us and the summit was another loose class 3 section, which in later summer could be easily skirted on the game trail.

The summit register had only seen a few parties in 2014, mostly spring skiers. Due to the earliness of the season and the recent snowfall, the views were superlative, ranging even to the Bitterroot Mountains south of Missoula, at least 130 miles away. There may be no better view of the peaks of the Middle Fork district of Glacier, or of Hungry Horse Reservoir. An awesome time!
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)

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