Gunsight Mountain is a large double summited peak located immediately south of Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park. The western, more rocky summit is the higher of the two. Views from the summit are especially nice to the north and northeast with most of the peaks in those directions visible. Views to the east are dominated and blocked by Mount Jackson.
Sperry Glacier is one of the largest glaciers in the park and is a very popular hiking destination.
Gunsight was first climbed by Dr. Lyman Sperry and party in 1905.
On a good day, Gunsight Mountain can be seen near the center of the Lake McDonald Web Cam. For peak names, see This Photo
Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana. Going-to-the-Sun Road is the main scenic route through the Park. It is not kept open during the winter. Closing in the fall and opening in the spring depends on snow depth and conditions. Opening of Logan Pass can be as late as July, but the road is opened in stages and is usually open to the end of Lake McDonald quite early.
Current Road Status
Routes on Gunsight Mountain are approached via the Sperry Glacier Trail, which starts near the Lake McDonald Lodge.
Lake McDonald Area Map & Trail Descriptions
Routes OverviewGUIDEBOOK: A CLIMBER'S GUIDE TO GLACIER NATIONAL PARK; J. Gordon Edwards
Because of the nature of the rock, there are special considerations regarding climbing in Glacier National Park, and grading systems unique to the Park have been developed. Please see this Fact Sheet for further details:
GNP Rock & Grading Systems
All three established routes are approached via the Sperry Glacier Trail. They can be climbed in a long day from the trailhead, but far more leisurely with a camp near Sperry Chalet. It is 9.8 miles with about 5,000 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead to the glacier. From the end of the trail to the summit is about another mile and just over 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
Northwest Ridge This ridge starts just above the stairway at end of the trail and consists of a series of rotten cliffs most of which can be bypassed. But at least one must be climbed. The most difficult class 5 section is best climbed on the eastern side of the ridge.
West Face One climbs the Northwest Ridge to the base of the class 5 cliff, then traverses about half way across the west face where an easy couloir leads to the summit ridge which involves some class 3 and 4 climbing.
Northeast Slope From the end of the trail at the edge of the glacier, one can make their way up the peak via either easy snow slopes (ice axe & crampons) or class 2 and 3 rock bands and talus. Early in the season, snow travel will be required.
Red TapeCurrent Entrance Fees
Registration for day climbs in Glacier National Park is recommended, but not mandatory.
Outdoor Activity Page Includes links to boating, bicycling, fishing, etc. and the regulations applying to each.
When To ClimbJune, July, August, September, and even into October depending on the amount of snow and the road closures.
There are numerous campgrounds available within Glacier National Park:
Backcountry Camping Page Includes trail status reports, campground availability, daily backcountry bulletins, and a backcountry blog.
Car Camping Page
There are also many campgrounds just outside the Park on both the west and east sides.
Camping on the Blackfeet Reservation is restricted to established campgrounds only.
If planning to stay overnight nearer the mountain, the Sperry Backcountry Campground is located near Sperry Chalet. It only has four sites, two of which may be reserved.
One can also stay at Sperry Chalet. Probably a bit pricey for most climber types.
Mountain ConditionsWeather Page an overview with a link to the local forecast.
External LinksGlacier National Park Homepage
Glacier Mountaineering Society
Non-government Glacier National Park Information