Mount Henkel rises directly above and to the north of the main Many Glacier developed area. The South Couloir Route is not particularly difficult and is a good early season climb offering spectacular views of the northeastern part of Glacier Park. No rock harder than class 3 need be climbed and there is an option to climb some moderately steep snow early in the season.
The route can be used as the fist leg of traverses either east to Apikuni Mountain or north to Crowfeet Mountain. It would be the logical descent route of traverses in the opposite direction.
The route is approached from the trail to Iceberg Lake, which has trail heads at both the Swiftcurrent Campground and at the Many Glacier Hotel. The route leaves the trail a short distance above the campground trail head. Unless you are staying at the hotel, it is much shorter to start from the campground trail head.
Many Glacier Area Map
GuidebookA 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 GNP Rock & Grading Systems for details.
Follow the trail to Iceberg Lake just past the junction between the hotel and campground spurs. A climber's trail takes off from 2 locations: one that leaves west of the first set of trees and another just before the bridge that crosses the creek. The trail leads to the snow bank usually in the creek bottom at the base of the face. Staying east (right looking up), work through the first set of terraces to a basin. Continue straight up the basin to the next set of cliffs and work through these. Once above the last of the red cliffs, traverse along strata to the west to the ridge. Ascend the ridge (watch out for cornices early in the season) to the summit.
One can also continue straight up the basin to the saddle east of the peak or to the crest of the east ridge. Climb the east ridge to the summit. The upper part of the basin is moderately steep snow early in the season, but when the snow is gone, it is loose scree and not recommended in ascent.
Climbing on the South Couloir Route (With E Ridge Variation)
DescentDescend via the route of ascent, or via the east ridge and upper basin rejoining the ascent route below the upper basin.
The traverse to Apikuny involves an exposed traverse across a scree ledge and a class 4 couloir on the lower east ridge of Henkel.
The descent to the col between Henkel and Crowfeet is without difficulty (class 2).