The East Face of Bearhat is an attractive and moderately long day climb from Logan Pass. The distance to the summit is about four miles three of which are on trail. The vertical gain is about 2,600 feet. The downside to the climb is the hike back uphill from Hidden Lake on the return to Logan Pass.
Even though the climb is not rated as being very difficult, many parties do run into problems and several great adventures have been had on the face.
The route was first climbed by Norman Clyde on August 17, 1923.
ApproachHike from Logan Pass to Hidden Lake via the trail (about 3 miles). Cross the outlet of the lake and move southward along the meadows until below the great rift that bisects the face. Start climbing upward here if you have not already in order to get above the first cliff band. Once above this cliff band, traverse further south around the lowest cliff band on the face.
The East Face can be climbed without great difficulty (Glacier Park Class 2 & 3) almost anywhere south of the rift. Edwards notes that the further south one goes, the faster and easier the climbing.
A note for possible first time Glacier climbers – when climbing an overall low angled face like this, you will almost always find yourself on a ledge with a difficult appearing cliff above. With a little patience, an easier way through to the next ledge can nearly always be found by traversing to the left and / or right for a short distance.
This route ends on the north summit. The actual high point is further to the southwest, and can be reached from the north summit with some difficulties in descending into the gap between the north summit ridge and the high point. Edwards states that this gap can be reached without difficulty with a traverse around the south side at a level below the gap.
SP member montanaboy provided the following description of the route that he took on the face along with this Trip Report providing more details (including how he reached the true summit):
"Avoid the temptation to walk too far along the trail which is on the west side of Hidden Lake. If you look at a classic Bearhat photo from the Hidden Lake overlook, start up the scree before you get to the green vegetation and cliffs which cover the lower slopes. Aim to get above that vegetation and low cliffs. Much grief can be avoided if you do this.
Work your way to the south and up the scree to its highest point where it pours out of a gully. This gully will lead you up to the broad summit. The crux will come immediately once you get into the gully with a short 10 to 12 foot class 3 climb with excellent rock for hand and foot placements. Ascend the gully or pop out of it in places if you desire. Eventually you will be forced out of it as it holds snow in the upper portions until late in the season. "
Variable Snow CoverExpect snow at least low on the face through July - some seasons more than others:
Essential GearIce axe might be needed if there is snow at the base of the face. A rope might be desired for those who are not yet comfortable with GNP class 3. Otherwise, no technical gear is needed.
Miscellaneous InfoI have seen bear in the Hidden Lake basin. Rocky Mountain Goats abound in the Logan Pass area.
Be sure to use established trails to minimize the damage to the alpine meadows in this area!