Mount Calowahcan

Page Type
Montana, United States, North America
Mountaineering, Scrambling
9061 ft / 2762 m
10991 Hits
91.99% Score
Log in
to vote
Page By:
Mount Calowahcan
Created On: Jan 25, 2007
Last Edited On: Aug 2, 2012
Mount Calowahcan from the NWMount Calowahcan from the NW

Frog Lake & Calowachan PeakFrom the east.

Mount CalowahcanFrom the south.


Mount Calowahcan is one of the most spectacular peaks on the western front of the Mission Range. Its easiest described route is Class 4 making it one of the more difficult summits in the range.

Mount Calowahcan has three very distinct summits. The north summit is the highest at 9,061 feet. The prominent south summit is shown as 8,881 feet and the much smaller middle summit is also about 8,880. Routes on the south and middle summits are also Class 4.
Calowahcan, McDonald, & Sheep s Head from the NWSetting from the W - NW.

The peak has undergone several name changes. Prior to 1922, it was apparently known as Mount Teton or Teton Peak. In 1922 it was named Mount Harding after President Harding. Then in 1991 the name was officially changed to Calowahcan after a prominent local family. According to the USGS, the English translation of Calowahcan is "Beaverhead".

Getting There

Summit LakeSummit Lake
from Eagle Pass

Eagle PassEagle Pass

The shortest approaches to the mountain are from the west.

To climb from the south or to reach Summit Lake and climb from the east, the most logical route is over Eagle Pass via the Eagle Pass Trail.

The Northwest Ridge can be approached from the road north of the Eagle Pass Trailhead.

Old maps show trails reaching Summit Lake from Elk Lake to the northeast and from Spider Lake to the southeast. These trails are not shown on newer maps.

Red Tape

Calowahcan South Summit from NW RidgeSouth Summit from NW Ridge

Mount Calowahcan is on the Flathead Indian Reservation within the Tribal Mission Mountain Wilderness. A hiking permit is required. Permits can be purchased at most sporting goods stores in Western Montana, or through the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Recreation Department in Pablo, MT (Phone: (406) 675-2700). The permit is currently $15.00 per season expiring every year on the last day of February.

Note that this peak is NOT in the Special Grizzly Bear Conservation Zone.


Calowahcan - West FaceClass 4 on the West Face.

The rock and thus the climbing in the Mission Range is very similar to that in
Glacier National Park.
See the Glacier National Park Rock and Grading Systems Fact Sheet for details.

Calowahcan - West FaceUpper NW Ridge & West Face

Northwest Ridge

This is the route that stands out when the mountain is viewed from the west or northwest. Reach the ridge through the brush and timber above the road, then follow it to its junction with the west face. Traverse an obvious wide ledge southward across the face until a good route up is found. Climbing on the face is Class 3 and 4.


Calowahcan - West FaceView across West Face
Calowahcan - West FaceClimbing on West Face

Calowahcan South SummitSouth Summit from North Summit

Calowahcan PeakEast Side above Summit Lake

Traverse from the South

CLIMBERS GUIDE TO MONTANA, by Pat Caffrey (out of print) rates the traverse over the south summit to the north summit as Class 4.

From Eagle Pass ascend the south summit directly up its southwest ridge. The last 15 feet are reported to be Class 4. From the south summit, traverse northward on the ridgeline and southeast side. The traverse is overall Class 4 with snow that may require a rope (certainly an ice ax) in early season. The middle summit can be climbed via a chimney on its east side – Class 4.

Caffrey states that there are Class 5 routes on the east side above Summit Lake, but does not describe them.

Views south from Mount Calowahcan

Calowahcan view south from NW RidgeFrom low on the NW Ridge
Calowahcan view south from West Face.From the West Face
Calowahcan - View southFrom the summit