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Southeast Ridge

Southeast Ridge

Southeast Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Montana, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.99750°N / 114.5725°W

Object Title: Southeast Ridge

Route Type: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Class 2

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: rebelgrizz

Created/Edited: Aug 21, 2012 / Aug 21, 2012

Object ID: 807934

Hits: 628 

Page Score: 78.27%  - 9 Votes 

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The Route

Mount Hefty
FS Road #114-A
Mount Hefty
Junction with Trail #18
Hike up the closed portion of Forest Service Road #114-A for .74 miles gaining a little over 250' to it's intersection with the Thoma-Colts Creek Trail #18. Trail #18 immediately loses some elevation as it switchbacks down into a drainage where there is an easy water crossing. From this point on, the trail gains over 1100' feet as it goes up the drainage for about 1.7 miles. Ironically, this creek has no name, and is just a tributary of Thoma Creek. This creek keeps you company for most of the hike up the drainage and would be a convenient location to grab some water if you didn't bring your own.

At the top of the drainage, Trail #18 intersects the Mount Hefty Trail #15. Here, you can make a left and head toward Mount Hefty, or make a right and head to the Thoma Lookout. The Mount Hefty Trail #15 originates to the southeast of the Thoma Lookout. In my humble opinion, it is not smart to hike to Mount Hefty from the beginning of Trail #15, as this would be close to a 20 mile round-trip and would include extreme elevation loss and gain between the Thoma Lookout and Mount Hefty.

Trail #15 levels out for the first few hundred yards and then makes a turn to the NW and begins gaining elevation on it's way to Point 7507. Early on, you get peek-a-boo views to the east of Glacier National Park to the east. Prior to reaching Point 7507 (pictured below) the trail peters out on the south side of a grassy point. Head straight up here and then bear back to the right (east) and you will be able to regain the trail. From here it is clear sailing to the top of Point 7507, if that is where you choose to go. We recommend bailing off the trail prior to reaching the top and side-hilling around to save some elevation gain and loss.

If you choose to hike to the top of Point 7507, look to the NW, and Mount Hefty presents itself.

Both the Flathead National Forest Map and the Glacier View Ranger District Map show Trail #15 going all the way to the summit of Hefty. However, we found no discernible trail after leaving Point 7507. It is also not necessary to continue to Hefty along the tops of the various ridge sections, particularly the first two, to save some elevation gain and loss, as the picture below shows.

Mount Hefty
Approximate route

Mount Hefty
At the saddle
Mount Hefty
looking back at Point 7507

Hike down from Point 7507, (as mentioned earlier, it is not necessary to go to the top of Point 7507, side-hilling will again, save some elevation gain and loss,) for almost a quarter mile losing over 200' to the saddle between Point 7507 and the beginning of the first section of Hefty's ridge. Hike up the ridge until it looks like you're even with the beginning of the next section of the ridge and then begin your low traverse of the first section.

Mount Hefty
Low on 2nd section
Mount Hefty
Final pitch

Ascend the second section of ridge just enough to stay above the snow (on the right) and shortly you will find yourself just below the final pitch to the summit. The picture below shows the route from the summit of Hefty.

After retracing your steps from the summit back to the saddle, the photo below shows a suggested route back to Trail #15. Don't forget, you still have to regain about 200', but if you continue to the top of Point 7507, it would be more than that.

Mount Hefty
Approximate route

Route Information

TerrainOne-Way MileageElevation Gain
Closed 114-A.74262'
Trail #181.721178'
Trail #151.571136'
Descent to saddle.22-298'
Ridge to Summit.88340'