A Problem of Shakespearean Proportions
Pictorial Introduction to a Nice Mountain
History of an Area
He was many things: scientist, hunter, explorer, naturalist, entrepreneur and author. Above all else, however, George Bird Grinnell was and remains the most influential conservationist in North American history.
All quotes are from "The Father of American Conservation," by Shane Mahoney, The Bugle, Vol. 21, #6, and Vol. 22, #1. The article may be read in its entirety by following the links at the end of this section.
Earlier, in 1875, Grinnell had taken a trip to Yellowstone National Park "...as a naturalist with a government-sponsored reconnaissance under the command of Colonel William Ludlow. Their visit confirmed big game was being slaughtered and timber and other resources extracted at a vicious pace. Grinnell returned from the expedition determined to provide better protection for the park and to set before the American people a platform of discussion regarding just what a national park should represent. In so
GNP has three important features named after this man: the mountain bearing his name, Grinnell Glacier, and one of the first impressive geological features seen when entering the Many Glacier area, Grinnell Point (originally known as Stark Peak, after an early day miner in the area named Parley Starklater changed to the name it is known by
What the early explorers accomplished in their exploration of this inhospitable area, which must at times have seemed almost completely inaccessible, is remarkable. What they achieved in their relationships with the Native Peoples already living on this land showed both courage and sensitivity, and is also remarkable. We owe an immeasurable debt to George Bird Grinnell and others of that era! Indicative of the high regard in which this man wasand isheld, it is interesting to note that he is responsible for the naming of more features in GNP than any other single individual, personally naming many mountains, lakes, ridges, and passes.
These links will take you directly to the (truly!) excellent and readable article mentioned above (The Bugle is the journal of The National Elk Foundation):
The Father of American Conservation, Part 1
The Father of American Conservation, Part 2
Views from the Upper Reaches
Enjoy the sunshine, the wind...in silence.
Location & Routes
Mount Grinnell is located at the western edge of GNP's Many Glacier Area, lies approximately equidistant between the neighboring major peaks of Mount Gould (S) and Mount Wilbur (N), with the basin immediately to the west of Grinnell holding Swiftcurrent Glacier, and the western ridge of that basin split by Swiftcurrent Pass, which is the northern terminus of the famous Garden Wall. There are several ways to reach the summmit of this mountain, two routes of which are attached to this page. We came in from the southwest via the Granite Park Chalet Trail, which provides spectacular views of peaks in the Lake McDonald Area to the west, and the somewhat more distant, northerly, summits in the Livingston and Lewis Ranges. The Mount Grinnell summit provides a panorama of the great peaks in the Many Glacier Area, all the way to Chief Mountain, the most NE summit in the park. Net elevation gain from trail head at The Loop is 4550', but substantial elevation is lost, then regained, so add approximately 1,000 feet of work. Round trip distance is slightly over 13 miles.
The following link is to the route page describing the western approach introduced above, which begins at "The Loop," and is via the Granite Park Chalet & Grinnell Glacier Overlook:
From the west, via Granite Park Chalet & Grinnell Glacier Overlook
This route can also be found in Volume 3 of Climb Glacier National Park. This is an updated book featuring full color photographs of routes and much more. Find it when you arrive in the area from local retailers or order it from the author on line at Volume Three.
Standard Precautionary Note: All GNP roads are closed in winter, with Going-to-the-Sun Road (the major route through the park; its eastern terminus is at Saint Mary) sometimes not opening until July (average opening is second week in June; earliest opening ever is May 16, 1987, with the next earliest being May 22, 2005). Don't head out early in the year (i.e., June/early July) without checking the status of these roads; it is not unusual to have repeated, sometimes lengthy, road closures due to storms, avalanches, rock slides, or all three! The same holds true for late in the year; weather changes dramatically in Glacier, beginning usually around the end of August, with road closures normally becoming more and more frequent throughout the month of September (although don't shy away from going, there can also be very nicealbeit cool or colddays of Indian Summer throughout this time frame; plus the park is relatively free of people after Labor Day). The following links are pretty much self-explanatory, and provide all sorts of useful information:
Map of Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park
And finally, click here for current information, as well as easy access to some
The Red Tape, Wildlife, & Cautions Section
When To Climb, & Climbing Considerations
From late June/early July (during this time frame expect LOTS of snow in the high elevations) to early fall, depending on snow conditions. Traditional climbing season in the Northern Rockies is July, August, and Septemberwith September weather becoming progressively colder and more unstable (sometimes dramatically so: PAY ATTENTION!) as the month progressesbut does of course vary from year to year. There are occasional winter climbs in the park, but not often, and then only by well-equipped, area-wise, extremely competent individuals. Basically, most of GNP is inaccessable through the winter, and avalanche danger, to put it mildly, is extreme almost everywhere.
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 by both J. Gordon Edwards and the Glacier Mountaineering Society. Anyone doing more than just "trail" hiking in this part of the Rockies should read the excellent and important information put together by Fred and Moni Spicker. Muchif not mostof the rock in GNP is sedimentary and rotten, and you need to know about it: Glacier National Park Rock & Grading Systems.
There are numerous campgrounds available within Glacier National Park, of which only Fish Creek and Saint Mary take reservations (not required, but probably a good idea during the peak summer tourist period, especially on weekends). There are also many campgrounds as well as motels just outside the park on both the west and east sides.
Our route up Mount Grinnell took us by the Granite Park Chalet, which could certainly be used as a base of operations. Interested? Try this link for reservation and pricing information.
Current Park Conditions/Web Cams
Weather pagean overview, plus current conditions and forecast
This is the New NPS Web Cam Page.
External Links/Additional Information/Items of Related Interest
In TributeOn March 1, 2011, Vernon Garner, Saintgrizzly, left us after losing a bold, inspiring fight against pancreatic cancer. Or maybe he won, for he is at last free of his pain and has "shuffle[d] off this mortal coil."
Vernon was an important contributor on SummitPost, but beyond merely making good, informative pages, he actually inspired many who read his work. No one put more work into his or her pages than Vernon did, and many of those pages, especially those related to Glacier National Park, the place he loved above all others, are works of art in both the writing and layout. More than one person has wanted to visit Glacier or go back to Glacier largely due to what he shared about that magnificent place.
Many people on SP counted Vernon among their friends, and many more saw him as one of the best, one of those who exemplified the spirit of this site. He was one of the best of us, he will be missed, and he will not be forgotten.
As a tribute to him, Vernon's pages will remain in his name. Any member who sees a need for an addition or correction should please contact site management via the "Send PM to the Elves" feature.
Rest well and climb on, Vernon.