OverviewMount Merritt is a hulking mass of glacial ice and sedenmentary rocks situated at the head of the Belly River Valley. Among the most dramatic peaks in Glacier N.P., Merritt rises over a vertical mile from the Mokowanis River to the north and the Belly River to south. Drapped across it's east face is the heavily crevassed Old Sun Glacier. It was first climbed via the Northeast Ridge route by Norman Clyde on July 28th, 1924.
View's from Merritt"The summit views are more attractive than any other i know" - J. Gordon Edwards, A Climber's Guide to Glacier National Park
Getting ThereSet in the remote northeast corner of Glacier, any one seeking to climb Merritt faces a long approach (13 miles) up the Belly River to the base of peak. The trailhead is off the Chief Mountain Highway about 100 yards before it crosses into Canada.
Red TapeGiven the length of the approach, Merritt is almost always done as a multiday
climb. This meaning that you must obtain a backcountry camping permit.
Half of the permits are made available through an advanced registration system. Since these spots generally fill up very quickly, i would recommend mailing your application before the April 15th lottery.
The other half of the permits are available one a first come first serve basis 24 hours in advance. These permits can be picked up at any of Glacier Park's visitor centers (St. Mary's being the closest). The visitor center's open at 7:00 am, and its very helpful to be first in line.
Group size is limited to 4 and permits cost 4 dollars per night/per person.
The Glacier Backcountry Guide and an application can be found here... http://www.nps.gov/archive/glac/activities/bcguide1.htm
CampingThere are 3 backcountry sites at the head of the Mokowanis river that can be used as a basecamp. Mokowanis Junction, Glenns Lake (Head), and Mokowanis Lake. Both Glenns and Mokowanis Lake are extremely beautiful sites and would be worth the trek on their own.
Its about 13 miles to the 3 sites, which can be either be done in 1 long flat
day or broken up into 2 easier days, with a night spent at Cosley Lake, Glenns Lake (foot) or Gable Creek sites.
RoutesWhile technical routes exist on the South and Western faces, most people summitting Merritt choose the Northeast Ridge.
Northeast Ridge - This is a class 3 scramble if snowfree. The elevation gained is about 5,200 feet, mostly on lose rock so be ready for a long day of climbing.