Glacier Classic

The 17th Annual Glacier Classic

“The Kercher Classic”

Thursday, August 19- Sunday, August 22

We are very excited to once again be putting together plans for the signature event of The Rocky Mountaineers—The Glacier Classic!  Last year, as COVID shut everything down, only a very small group of three of us kept the tradition alive.  This year, we hope many of you will once again join us for what is always a great time in our crown jewel of a National Park just to our north.  It will be a weekend of great hikes, climbs and camp camaraderie!

Over the last six years, Bryan Kercher was a regular attendee of this event.  Few loved Glacier more than Bryan- he hiked, backpacked, skied, climbed peaks and, especially, took thousands of pictures of this special place in his many many visits over the years.  The Glacier Classic was simply something that he had to be a part of and because of that, and his love of this place, made it all the more special for so many of us.  Thus, we have decided that there perhaps couldn’t be a better and more appropriate way to honor him than to rename this years event “The Kercher Classic”!  So, whether you knew him or not, please join us to enjoy a place he so dearly loved with old friends and new!

Our basecamp this year will once again be the Divide Creek Campground in St. Mary.  We have essentially booked the whole campground.  There are a couple of cabins that can be rented here as well if interested. 

Below you will find a preliminary itinerary and the trip listings.  Our goal is to have something for everyone.  We had 40 attendees at the 2019 Classic ranging in age from 10 to 75.  This is an event for everyone, but it also takes EVERYONE to make it what it has become.  So please RSVP and please let us know what you would like to do and to sign up.  We look forward to seeing you ALL there!  (Note:  TRM Membership is required to participate)

NOTE:  To sign up for a trip, please contact the trip leader listed at end of each description.  Additionally, please RSVP the event organizer, Forest Dean (mtnear1@gmail.com) to ensure we obtain an appropriate number of camping spaces.

Itinerary:

Thursday- Those wishing to participate in one of the Friday trip offerings should arrive in St. Mary this evening.  Also, there is one trip offering on Thursday afternoon.

Friday- We will have four trips today for those wanting a longer weekend.  The rest of the participants can head up to St. Mary and arrive sometime Friday afternoon or evening.  Bring your own food and drinks for dinner this evening. 

Saturday– Climbs and hikes during the day.  In the evening we’ll gather in camp for the food, drink and campfire fun.  (Again, bring your own food and drinks and something to share if desired!)

Sunday– More hikes and climbs for those interested, or head home whenever you desire.  We typically have several spur of the moment trips created on Saturday evening.

 

Thursday

BARING POINT

Description:    Short but steep scramble to Baring Point, a high point below Going-to-the-Sun Mtn.  This scramble is exploratory but I have a GPX track of a successful climb to follow.  Expect 4-5 hours of climbing class III/IV terrain.  This scramble will start early Thursday afternoon on the east side of Logan Pass.  More specific information will be given to participants.  For those wishing to join the climb please contact me before the Glacier Classic begins.  

Distance:  ~3 miles RT with 2400’ of elevation gain

Required equipment:  Helmet, 10 essentials.

Groups size:  5

Leader:  Laurel Vielle, laurelvl38@yahoo.com, 406-450-2612.

Friday

IPASHA PEAK

Description:  Long out and back trip via the “Yo-Yo” Route (refer to Gordon Edwards book for more info on this route).  Hike to Iceberg Lake from Many Glacier, ascend to Iceberg Notch, up and over Ahern Peak, scramble up Ipasha.  Return the same way.  Fairly long day at a fairly fast pace.  We will need to get an early start, so bring a headlamp.

Distance: 18 miles round trip with 8500’ of elevation gain.  Class 4 in a couple of spots. 

Required equipment:  Ice Axe, microspikes or lightweight crampons, helmet, bearspray

Group Size: 5

Leader:  Forest Dean- mtnear1@gmail.com

 

ELKCALF MTN

Description: The primary objective of this hike will be to check for hoary marmots in the vicinity of Elkcalf mountain south of Glacier Park as part of the club’s Marmot Madness project. See https://hs.umt.edu/umzm/marmots.php for more details about the project.  Elkcalf Mountain is on the continental divide south of Marias Pass. We will do this hike on the way to the Glacier Classic.  The pace of this hike will be slow.  

We should be able to drive about half way from Highway 2 to Elkcalf on the Pine Creek road.   Then there is up to a mile of off-trail hiking, and then 2 miles on a cleared trail.  Thus, the total distance is about 5-6 miles round trip with and approximate elevation gain of 2000′.

Required equipment:  Bear spray.  

Recommended equipment:  camera, binoculars, gps device or app, water, lunch.

Class 1-2. 6 miles round trip 2000’ elevation gain. 

Group size limit: 6

Leader: Alden Wright  alden@rockymountaineers.com

 

ALLEN MOUNTAIN

Description:  Allen Mountain, 9,376”, located directly south of Many Glacier Chalet, will entail a strenuous, albeit not extreme full day of hiking/scrambling to eventually reach the north summit ridge via the High Traverse/Great Break route. It is summarized on SummitPost as, “highly exciting and scenic route, and a true classic in Glacier National Park. It involves an impressive goat trail, a pair of serene alpine lakes, and some solid Class III & IV climbing through a massive cliff band.” Total elevation gain will be 4,500’ starting at the Many Glacier Chalet parking lot. The route entails following a climber’s track in the sub-alpine, breaking out into a loose talus field, then traversing a goat trail with a few scrambling moves to ultimately gain Snow Moon Basin. From there the route aims towards a break in Allen’s summit cliff bands, where class 3-4 scrambling occurs (class 4 mainly due to a bit of exposure). Thereafter, the summit ridge is gained with a straightforward hike to the top.

Expect ascent time of around 4 ½-5 hours (though fast ascents are 3 ½ hours), followed by 3-hour descent.

Necessary equipment: climbing helmet for segments of route exposed to rock fall, day pack with rain/storm shell layer plus lunch and fluids. Trip leader will bring water purifier to replenish liquids. Lightweight trekking poles are optional, but handy.  Headlamp.  Early departure to mainly ensure obtaining a parking spot at Many Glacier.

Maximum group size: 5, plus leader.

Leader:  Minot Maser- minotmaser@gmail.com

 

SOUTH ICEBERG AND ICEBERG PEAK’S

Description:    Long, challenging but hopefully enjoyable hike/scramble to South Iceberg and Iceberg Peaks.  This climb is exploratory but I have a GPX track of a successful climb to follow.  From the Loop off of GTTS road hike on good trail almost to the summit of Swiftcurrent Mtn before going off trail.  Enjoy class II hiking along a ridge to near South Iceberg.  Class III scrambling will be required for the ascents of South Iceberg and Iceberg.  From summit of Iceberg descend class II/III scree/cliffs to the High Line trail and hike out.  More specific information will be given to participants.  For those wishing to join the climb please contact me before the Glacier Classic begins.  

Distance:  ~20 miles RT (If no parking at Loop will have to start at Packer’s Roost adding a few more miles)

Elevation gain: ~8000ft

Required equipment:  Helmet, 10 essentials.

Groups size:  5

Leader:  Laurel Vielle, laurelvl38@yahoo.com, 406-450-2612.

 

Saturday

CHIEF MOUNTAIN

Description:    Starting on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, hike a climbers trail/boulder hop to the south side of the peak.  From there ascend steep scree/class III cliffs.  There is one class IV move near the summit. Blackfeet tribal recreation permit required, see link below.  More specific information will be given to participants.  For those wishing to join the climb please contact me before the Glacier Classic begins.  

Distance:  ~8 RT 

Elevation gain: ~4000ft

Required equipment:  Helmet, Blackfeet Tribal Recreation Permit (https://blackfeet.nagfa.net/online/), 10 essentials.

Groups size:  5

Leader:  Laurel Vielle, laurelvl38@yahoo.com, 406-450-2612.

 

LAKE JOSEPHINE

This will be a “go as far as you want” hike. The trail down from the Swift Current Motor Inn is 0.7 of a mile/1.2k to meet the trail on the north shore of Lake Josephine. Lake Josephine appears to be about 1 1/2 miles/2.41k long, and add in extra distance for trail connections around both ends, going all around the lake would appear to be about 5 -5 1/2 miles/8.05-8.85k.

Bring water and a lunch/snack, No Participant Limit

Leader: Julie Kahl jawkal@rockymountaineers.com

 

NORTH FACE OF LITTLE CHIEF MTN

Description: We will survey for hoary marmots in Glacier Park on the north face of Little Chief Mountain.  We will hike about 2 miles by trail around the west end of St. Mary Lake, and then bushwack off trail about about a mile up to about 7000′.  We will return the same way we came.  This is an exploratory trip and I don’t know how hard the bushwacking will be.

Class 1 and 2.  Estimated 6 miles round trip.  Elevation gain:  2500′.

Required equipment:  Bear spray. 

Recommended equipment:  camera, binoculars, gps device or app. Water, lunch.

Group size limit:  6

Leader:  Alden Wright   alden@rockymountaineers.com

 

MOUNT GOULD

Description:  Mount Gould, 9,553’, is located about 3 miles north of Logan Pass along the “Garden Wall,” with a planned ascent of the either the West Face (class 3) or Northwest Ridge (class 3, one pitch class 4) depending on group members’ preferences. The hike/scramble entails approximately 3,000’ of gain, initially approaching the peak on the well-traveled Highline Trail, that leads to Glacier Chalet, on the west side of the Logan Pass Divide. From the Haystack Butte/Gould Mountain Saddle an increasingly steep ascent leads to the western cliff bands of Gould (class 3 scrambling). The route will entail meandering ledge traverses seeking the path of least resistance through rock bands, ultimately ended on the north ridge with an easy final trek to the summit. Expect a full round trip of 8-hours, with an early wake up in order to ensure parking at Logan Pass.

Necessary equipment: climbing helmet for segments of route exposed to rock fall, day pack with rain/storm shell layer plus lunch and fluids. Trip leader will bring water purifier to replenish liquids. Lightweight trekking poles are optional, but handy. Headlamp.

Maximum group size: 5, plus leader.

Leader:  Minot Maser- minotmaser@gmail.com

 

Sunday

MOUNT HENRY

Description:  Starting at Two Medicine, we will follow the trail to Scenic Point (about 3 miles). Then up and off trail to the south before ridge bends to the west and to the summit of Mt. Henry (8847′). Return the same way. Route is apparently not technically difficult, but may be exposed in places. 

Distance:  12 miles, 4000’ of elevation gain, Class 3

Leader:  Forest Dean- mtnear1@gmail.com

 

For more information or to register please email:

          Forest Dean – mtnear1@gmail.com