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Mount Wilbur
Mountain/Rock

Mount Wilbur

 
Mount Wilbur

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Montana, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.80545°N / 113.73918°W

Object Title: Mount Wilbur

Activities: Mountaineering

Elevation: 9321 ft / 2841 m

 

Page By: Fred Spicker

Created/Edited: Aug 26, 2002 / Jun 18, 2011

Object ID: 151167

Hits: 17277 

Page Score: 90.81%  - 33 Votes 

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Mt. Wilbur from the Many...
The classic view of Mount Wilbur from the east across Swiftcurrent Lake.
Photo by csmcgranahan

 
Mount Wilbur, Iceberg Peak
From the south.

Overview

 
The north face of Mount Wilbur
From the north.



Viewed from the east, Mount Wilbur appears to be a fantastic freestanding fin of rock. In fact, the mountain has a roughly three-sided pyramid shape with relatively wide north and south faces. A long very jagged west ridge extends behind the impressive east face.

There are five described routes on the east face and one on the north face. I do not know if the south face or the west ridge has been climbed.
 
Early morning light on Mount Wilbur
First light on East Face.

Mount Wilbur was named in 1885 by G. B. Grinnell , for E. R. Wilbur, one of his partners in the Forest and Stream Publishing Company. Grinnell was one of the pioneers influential in the establishment of Glacier National Park. The mountain was known as "Heavy Shield" by the local Native Americans.


The first ascent of Mount Wilbur was made via the East Face (variation unknown) on 20 August 1923 by Norman Clyde. The first winter ascent was made in late November of 1969 by Jim Anderson, Pat Callis, Jurg Hofer, Mark Levitan, Jim Kanzler, and Cep Pogrebe via the East Face, Thin man and Chimney routes. (CLIMBING MAGAZINE, March-April 1975)

Views from Mount Wilbur


Getting There

 
The view west across...
Across Swiftcurrent Lake.


Mount Wilbur is located in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. Access is through the Many Glacier Entrance on the east side of the Park.
 
Wilbur, Grinnell, Gould, Ptarmigan Lake
From the northeast.

See maps

Park Map

Many Glacier Area




The road is not maintained for winter travel, but is usually open quite early in the spring.

The road status can be checked at: Park Road Info

Red Tape

Current 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.

Routes Overview

GUIDEBOOK: A CLIMBER'S GUIDE TO GLACIER NATIONAL PARK; J. Gordon Edwards

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS:

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 the routes described on Mount Wilbur are day climbs involving about 4,500 feet of elevation gain and distance 4 miles, half of this by trail.
 
Mount Wilbur from the east.
East Face

EAST FACE

The East Face routes are accessed via the Red Rock Falls Trail (see Many Glacier Trails Map: Many Glacier Area).

There seems to be very little difference in difficulty between the five routes on the east face. All are class 4 and 5 chimney or gully climbs. Only the Thin Man's Pleasure Route has an outstanding feature separating it from the others.

The Direct Route, North Couloir Route, and Central Couloir Route are approached by entering the cirque at the base of the East Face and climbing more or less directly up the north side of deepest gully on the face (below the deepest notch at the top of the face). Some fairly difficult climbing including one overhang is encountered on this lower part of the face. The three routes diverge at the base of a red rock band where the face steepens.

1) The Direct Route is a chimney climb directly to a notch at the top of the face via the left fork of the main gully. It is described as a straightforward chimney climb with an overhang at the top.

2) The North Couloir Route follows the right fork of the gully and leads via easy class 3 climbing to a more northerly notch at the top of the face. Class 4 climbing is then necessary to traverse to the summit.

3) The Central Couloir Route ascends between the Direct and North Couloir Routes and involves a couple of pitches with dangerously down sloping holds, but is indicated by Edwards to be the easiest of these three routes.

The Chimney Route and the Thin Man's Pleasure Route are approached over the broad shoulder at the left side of the east face.

4) The Chimney Route follows a deep chimney to a ledge that brings one to the notch at the base of the summit block.

5) The Thin Man's Pleasure Route (GMS IV(5) ML) climbs a chimney next to the Chimney Route. At the top is a an overhanging roof with small hole leading through (see photo below). One climbs through the hole then up a shallow gully to gain the same ledge as the Chimney Route.

Climbing on the East Face
 
East Face, Mount Wilbur
Below Thin Man & Chimneys.
 
Thin Man s Pleasure Route, E Face,  Mount Wilbur
The Thin Man Roof.
 
 Jump Move  East Face, Mount Wilbur
Crazy
"Jump Move"
(Not mandatory.)


NORTH FACE

The Northwest Face Route is accessed from Iceberg Lake (see Many Glacier Trails map: Many Glacier Area). This is described as an extremely difficult climb involving many overhanging chimney pitches. It was first climbed in 1961 by Tom Choate, Renn Fenton, and Gil Averill and was not known to have been repeated as of 1989.

When To Climb

 
Mount Wilbur with early...
Fall Snow
Early Morning Light.


Summer season after most of the snow is gone from the East Face.

Mountain Conditions

Weather Page an overview with a link to the local forecast.

Webcam Page

Iceberg Lake

 
Iceberg Lake
View down on lake.
 
 Iceberg Lake Cirque
The cirque.

Because of the orientation of the cirque and the exceptionally steep walls, the lake remains frozen until well into the summer and normally contains icebergs most of the summer.

The hike to the lake is mostly through fairly open terrain with fabulous views of Mount Wilbur and Pinnacle Wall. It is about 4.7 miles with 1,200 feet of elevation gain from Many Glacier to the lake.




Links:

NPS page - photos from along the trail and of the lake - also a short video

Big Sky Fishing.com - an excellent trail description with many photos (note - there are no fish in Iceberg Lake - it is frozen too much of the year)

Trip Report - a private party trip report with some nice photos

Map of Many Glacier Area


Camping

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.

External Links

Glacier National Park Homepage

Glacier Mountaineering Society

Non-government Glacier National Park Information
Mt. Wilbur after sunset
After Sunset
Photo by csmcgranahan






Images