Camped at Mokawanis Junction. A great day climbing, and had a run in with a griz just below the saddle. Gained the summit, and admired the views, mainly Margaret Lake. Returned to the saddle and marched up Natoas peal before returning to camp. With X, Casey and Hannah
I climbed Merritt from Mowkowanis Junction camp which is well placed and somewhat easier to get permission to use than other nearby camps. Three parties were in camp for the ascent (all successful) that saturday attesting to the popularity of the peak and climbing in GNP.
We all independently elected to ascend directly from the head of Glenns' Lake (see GPS track on Peakbagger.com) rather than use Edwards' route which takes one unnecessarily out of the way and requires a lot of extra traversing and brush. The ascent to the basin from Glenns Lake is obvious with easy cross-country through open forest and minor brush; exploit numerous game trails. Overlay the GPS track on Google Earth and the approach route/goal is obvious.
From the top of the talus/debris field (c. 7,500') stay out of Edwards' recommended gulley and use the minor ridge to the south (climbers' right). With a little searching it's 2nd class with a few 3rd class moves all the way to the saddle. From the saddle traverse above the Old Sun Glacier and ascend when reasonable; there's a few 3rd class moves here and there. I should have gone to the NE ridge sooner for a more aesthetic route. GPS says 6.6 miles RT and 5,600' total gain.
Brutal ascent. Very long day out to bag this one. May be the most difficult of Glaciers 10K peaks.
Did this over a 4 day backpack trip with Montanachris and Lou. Saw 5 g-bears, two lone bears on the west side of the saddle, 1 of which was a large male we were about 200 yards above and didn't care one bit that we were there. On the east side we saw a mama and 2 cubs playing on the snow field to the west. Lots of scree made this a very difficult climb. Went down via the gully in Edwards route description. Very slow going due to having not gone up that way. About 12 hours and 12 miles round trip from camp at the junction. Went on to Cosley Lake for a very long, 17 mile day. Really earned this peak.
Took me a month to make it while watching weather and doing other peaks and burning up my legs, but it was awesome and this was one I needed to summit to sleep well at night, for whatever reason. Was my last GNP peak of 2013. Number 26 I believe. A great view, but not my favorite, and other easier peaks with great views include Siyeh, Bearhat, and Gould, all day climbs.
2011 - w/ Tyler Haasch
Climbed Mt. Cleveland the following day via Stoney Indian Traverse
Climbed with a group of five, using the spectacular site at Glenns Lake (Head) as base camp. Long, long, long way up! Lots of loose rock en route to the saddle. Perfect weather afforded us stunning views from the top. Personal milestone: 50th different peak in Glacier National Park! One of my favorite adventures to date!
Hiked in to the Mokowanis Junction and climbed Merritt the next day with Frank, Rick, & Martin. Near the top, Frank kicked in steps and used an ice axe. It was way steep. Plunge in the ice axe, take two steps and keep repeating. It had to be a good hundred yards long. Martin wouldn't do it. Frank, Rick & I summited and then came back down to where Martin was waiting. Frank told Martin that he came too far not to summit. Martin said he couldn't do it. Frank said "you can do it and I'll be right behind you and talk you through it". And off they went. Martin was painstakenly slow, very nervous and shaking a little, but Frank talked him through it. By the time Martin made it to the summit, he was almost in tears he was so overcome with joy. After they got back off the snowfield, it was too late for them to do Natoas. I did Natoas while Martin slowly made his way to the summit. Back at camp Martin kept talking about how happy he was to summit. It was his fourth 10 in GNP.
2006-Led GMS climb from Head of Glenns Lake. Also climbed Natoas
2005-with John, Ron, April and Ronnie from Glenns Lake. Also climbed Natoas.
2003-with John, Brian and Bud from Mokowanis Junction
1980-with Bill from Mokowanis Lake
All climbs were successful. 1980 climb saw us encounter rain and fog just before returning to camp.
A one day push, with AL, Larry , and Linda. Left at midnight,full moon, back to the car at 11:00 PM. WHAT A DAY!
Great cimb with Katie, SO, and CW.
had to hke up the belly river to helen lake because of bear closures in many glacier. 6am start brought us to the summit at 1:45pm and back to camp at 7pm. what a great day of climbing. this mountain isn't climbed often...only about 12 entrys in the GMS summit register since august of '06!
CLIMBED WITH VERN INGRAHAM OF WHITEFISH, MT USING MOKOWANIS LK ROUTE
Hiked from Many Glacier to Mokowanis Lake Campsite on the first day...bad choice. It was a LONG hike. On the second day, we headed towards Mt. Merritt by going south past Margaret Lake. Basically, we followed J. Edwards notes from A Climber's Guide to Glacier National Park.
We started up the West side when we were hit by freezing rain and strong winds. About two-thirds of the way up, we made the decision to turn around. We couldn't feel our hands and the rock was to wet and slippery to dare venture further.
It was a sad moment to turn around. Merritt was my goal for the week in GNP, and I had to turn my back to it. To this day, I am still so frustrated with Merritt and the weather. But, I will have to save it for another day. Hopefully with sunny and beautiful weather.
Yep, being turned back by poor weather can be frustrating. Happened to me many times. But the mountain will always be there -- your aim should be the same. You should plan now to return for another attempt.