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GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

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GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

Postby admiralcapn » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:04 pm

I'm planning a trip to Glacier in the Summer of 2013 and I was wondering if anyone has ever tried a traverse from Mt. Jackson to Triple Divide Peak along the continental divide? Car-to-car its just under 27 miles along the ridgeline, which could either be one very long day or two more manageable days with a camp at mile 16 (6700 feet at the pass southeast of Logan). Does this seem doable? Will it require climbing beyond class 3? Would a hyper-active dog be able to make the trek? I haven't been able to find any pages on hikes between Logan and Norris, so advice from anyone with experience in that region would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

Postby pyerger » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:53 pm

Try contacting Ralph , Who I believe is earmountain on this web sight. He has vast experience, in the park, and can give you some beta. from My experience anything around Mt Jackson is rugged and glaciated,Just doing Jackson is a 10/12 hour day. I haven't been to the park in years, but when I was, There were no dogs aloud. also check out the Glacier Mountaineering Society, they would be a good resource.
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Re: GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

Postby Fred Spicker » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:29 pm

This isn't exactly what you are talking about, but it might help -

http://bedrockandparadox.com/2012/08/21 ... -traverse/
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Re: GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

Postby EarMountain » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:52 pm

1. Dogs and other pets are not permitted anywhere in Glacier National Park that a car cannot go. So your dog will have to remain home.

2. There's a lot of great info on the route in the Climbers Guide to Glacier National Park by J. Gordon Edwards. The route in that guide is called the Norris Traverse. It follows the Continental Divide between Triple Divide Peak and Red Eagle Pass. Between Red Eagle Pass and Gunsight Lake the route is east of the divide.

Following the Continental Divide between Mount Jackson and Mount Logan is difficult. I know of some climbers who have done parts of this but I know of no one who completed that entire traverse.

3. The descent from Jackson, should one attempt that route, to the saddle south of Jackson (the côl between Jackson and Harrison Glaciers) is tough but it has been done. The climber will encounter some interesting angled slabs and some difficult class three pitches if the best route is found.

4. Between that côl and Blackfoot Mountain usually involves some steep snow traverses requiring rope, ice axes and crampons. One climber I know well told me they had to rapel from the ridge down and onto the snow in one location.

5. The traverse from just north of Blackfoot Mountain to the west ridge of Mount Logan also involves either steep snow traverses requiring crampons, ice axe and rope or difficult route finding on the ridge with at least one exposed class 4-5 pitch. There may be an additional class 4 pitch or two that I'm not aware of.

6. Once on Logan it is possible to follow the Continental Divide to Red Eagle Pass. J. Gordon Edwards describes that part of the route in his guide book under the name of the Scenic Death March.

7. South of Red Eagle Pass a detour east will avoid steep cliffs and nasty gullies and reach the top of the ridge. From there to Triple Divide Pass the route is well described in the Climbers Guide.

Hardened, well equipped and experienced mountaineers could probably do this route in 4-5 days. I'd suggest following the route described by Edwards instead of following the divide between Jackson and at least Logan.

I know of one group that made the Norris Traverse in 3 days but they told me it was somewhat of a "tour de force."
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Re: GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:55 am

admiralcapn wrote:I'm planning a trip to Glacier in the Summer of 2013 and I was wondering if anyone has ever tried a traverse from Mt. Jackson to Triple Divide Peak along the continental divide? Car-to-car its just under 27 miles along the ridgeline, which could either be one very long day or two more manageable days with a camp at mile 16 (6700 feet at the pass southeast of Logan). Does this seem doable? Will it require climbing beyond class 3? Would a hyper-active dog be able to make the trek? I haven't been able to find any pages on hikes between Logan and Norris, so advice from anyone with experience in that region would be greatly appreciated.


I was going to say there's no way in the world you will do that in a day or without harder than Class 3 or with a dog, but please see EarMountain's excellent post.
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Re: GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

Postby bfrench » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:56 pm

My wife and I did the Norris traverse from Cut Bank Creek to Lake McDonald in 3 days a few years back. We spent the first night on the ridge just before Red Eagle pass. The second night we camped at Gunsight Lake.

Definitely no dogs on trails in the park.

How close to the divide do you want to stay? Actual ridge would be much more time consuming and difficult but is doable. Edwards guidebook describes most of it pretty well.

The ridge between Logan and Blackfoot is pretty easy with good route finding.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Re: GNP - Mt Jackson to Triple Divide Peak traverse?

Postby ManyGlacierMountaineer » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:29 am

Admiralcapn, as others have stated, the portion between Jackson and Blackfoot will be basically impossible. From Blackfoot east/southward, only the ridge to Logan will present snowfield crossings that could be treacherous. The Norris Traverse itself (Red Eagle to Tri. Divide Pass on the divide) is doable in 2 days, but it takes a solid day to get to Red Eagle Pass from anywhere (2 years ago I did this route starting from Cut Bank, plus bagging all of the Little Chief to Red Eagle ridgewalk, all in 3 days out to St. Mary... last year I climbed Razoredge, completed half of the Norris Traverse out to Split Mt. and back out in one and a half days).

I agree with Ear Mountain's assessment of a 4-5 day trip if you do indeed have the skill and experience to do your entire trip. My advice: Just do the Norris Traverse. It is a great route and will likely take you 3 solid days to travel between Gunsight Pass TH and Cut Bank CG. Another option for doing the Norris Traverse would be to ascend to Almost-A-Dog Pass via the Virginia Creek drainage, but this area can turn into a god-awful bushwhack if you do not reach treeline on the western slopes of Citadel/Dusty Star to ascend to Almost-A-Dog Pass and the bushwhack to reach this treeline from Virginia Falls is also a hardy uphill bushwhack.

Another thought... if you simply want to do some long class 2/3 ridgewalking on the Continental Divide, there are plenty of similar routes in the Southern portion of the park that would be much easier than Mt. Jackson to Triple Divide Pass, such as Triple Divide Pass to any combination of Cut Bank, Pitamakin or Dawson Passes. Another route I have done along the divide that is similar is to access the Continental Divide from Bearhead Mt. via Mt. Ellsworth, all the way to either Firebrand or Marias Pass.
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