The Highline Trail parallels the famous Going to the Sun Road. Mount Oberlin is on the left. I have marked Easter Island. As you can see you do not have far to go from the true summit.
Pick your own path. Half the fun is getting a little lost. I ignored all cairn sign.
A Spectacular Sub-Summit of Mount Oberlin
A composite made from 5 photos, looking NW. I won't try to name all these. Sadly, the light was changing so fast from one pic to the next, they don't blend well.
You will often hear of Mount Oberlin as the easiest walk in Glacier Park, which I think is an unrealistic portrayal of the peak. I mean there are some flat walks in the National Park, and on the wrong day, this trail can be slippery. The hike is short, though the views are marvelous. Here I will detail a short jaunt out onto an arm or wing, whatever term you prefer, with a sub-summit that offers magnificent scenery of hoodoos, towers, and earns the name I gave it: "Easter Island".
Sunbeams on the short trail to Mount Oberlin.
The route will be very simple. First, summit Mount Oberlin, enjoy the views, try to recover feeling in your hands if the day is as cold as the fall day I went up there and the winds are 80 miles per hour. I will give you a moment for that with these pictures to tempt you.
Nearby peaks swallowed up by clouds while Mount Oberlin was open for business. Mount Reynolds is in center. Heavy Runner on the left. One the best things about peak-bagging in GNP is the wonderful names.
Telephoto out to Vulture Peak to the North.
Clouds swirl about my head on the short jaunt to Mount Oberlin. This is the famous Garden Wall with Bishop's Cap hidden.
Central views inspire in all directions from Mount Oberlin in GNP.
Feel like you're on top of the world? You can reach this spot in about an hour's walk from Logan Pass.
Looking out to Easter Island. I made up the name. You won't find it on a map.
Now, look North. You will see a cairn (most likely) out on a little sub-summit. Descend from where you are a bit to the East side of the summit, traverse and walk for a while, and then find your way through a short maze of amazing natural, wind-carved sculptures. This involves some up and down and some scrambling, but you can go almost out to the "summit" of Easter Island without doing anything seriously vertical. With a partner this will be quite simple stuff. Spot each other and maybe offer a boost in one or two places. If by yourself, try not to fall and die. I could only find one eventual safe end-path without a spotter and climbing shoes (I was in my high ankle-protecting winter boots so I could not feel any holds). The way I went was up through a sort of cave I had to crouch through. It was narrow enough I left my backpack behind.
Hoodoos and idols surround you quickly.
This whole excursion added about 90 minutes onto my morning, though it could be done in less. There are several solid towers which might offer some of the premier single pitch climbing in Glacier Park. I am not a rope climber usually and can't speak to that with certainty, but judge for yourself from the pics. I can say at least this: on Easter Island you are less likely to have your anchors come out or your hold break off and crumble in your hand than at any spot in the park I've been other than Beta 7 tower.
The magic of the trip will depend on weather, but as clouds were all about me, I thought it wise to try Oberlin first and see what the storms did. Swirl and mess with my photography light is what they did, but also, they awed me. They broke up by 11 am and I spent the rest of the day heading out to Bearhat. That was another magnificent trip, but you will have to read about it elsewhere if you are interested. I hope this will inspire some adventurers out there to make a trip to Easter Island at Glacier National Park and not skip poor overlooked Mount Oberlin.
Views and crazy forms abound.
I am adding more text simply to make these images easier to manipulate and position. If you've posted, you know what I mean. There are enough towers out here to keep a climbing team busy for several days, I expect. Easter Island is its own playground within the vast park.
More fun on Easter Island.
Looking back towards the real summit of Mount Oberlin.
This yellow lichen is very prevalent in Glacier Park, and actually, is the only color lichen I can remember seeing. It tends to favor walls that are solid and good for climbing, such as Beta 7 near Iceberg Peak. But don't trust your life to that statement, please!
Light climbing and scrambling lead to this little tunnel you may need to slither through.
As you can see for yourself, this is a unique little spot and one that deserves more traffic. The going is 3rd class through light 5th class, but you can probably have a good time without a single 5th class move.