Ascent of Mount Oberlin on 1994-07-25

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, July 25, 1994
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Oberlin
    Elevation:8180 ft / 2493 m

Ascent Trip Report

Even though Glacier National Park boast only six 10,000 foot peaks, making its mountains laughably low by the standards of the rest of the western U.S., the steepness, remoteness, and vertical gain of the park's mountains is truly formidable. No trails even get near to any summits, rotten cliffs and loose rock are constant obstacles, man-eating grizzly bears roam around, and the weather can be severe. My plan was to first climb Mt. Oberlin, an 8,180 foot peak made easy by the proximity of a high trailhead at Logan Pass, to see what peaks in the park were like.

I hiked up the nature path among hordes of tourists, and then struck off to my right towards Mt. Oberlin across meadows, with one tourist telling me I shouldn't trample the fragile alpine tundra. I was not aware of the NPS-recommended route, but I did try to stay on rock as much as possible. I soon arrived in the cirque beneath the peak, and I elected to try to climb up via the south ridge, since I saw people on a faint path heading up that way. I passed the people, and after a short but steep climb I gained the crest of the ridge at the Oberlin-Clements col.

The ridge to the summit was a challenge, due to lots of short cliffs and miserable, crumbling rock; although not as bad as Cascade volcanic crap, it was semi-sturdy metamorphic layers that sometimes just came right out of the mountain face when you tugged on them. The crux of the route was at a cliff face I couldn't scale where I jumped down five feet to a shelf that offered a route around it, and there were other small cliffs that had to be scaled.

I reached the summit, all alone, and admired views and took pictures under the cloudy skies. The mountain panorama was excellent--I was up on a dizzying height--and the traffic at Logan Pass below looked pretty bad. For my descent I climbed down the southeast side of Mt. Oberlin, where a faint path led down the steep, crumbly slopes to the cirque I had been in earlier, since it looked easier than the way I had climbed up. There were still some snowbanks there, and I saw a couple other parties. Following obscure paths wherever possible to avoid more meadow-trampling, I made my way down the ravine, crossed a brook a few times, found a water tower, and then easily hiked down to the visitor center, making a complete loop.

The Logan Pass area was still a zoo, and cars were following people to their cars so they could scarf up parking spaces--like at the mall before Christmas. I went straight to my car and left as my space was taken immediately, and I saw cars parking on the shoulder of the road even though there was a ranger there giving parking tickets in plain view.

The summit crags of Mount Oberlin, an easy scramble from a high trailhead at Logan Pass (1994-07-25).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1540 ft / 469 m
    Trailhead:Logan Pass  6640 ft / 2023 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Cool, Partly Cloudy
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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