Piegan Glacier below Piegan Mountain
Piegan Mountain was named by James Willard Schultz in 1885 for the Piegan tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Nation.
Piegan Mountain is located east of Logan Pass above the bridge where Lunch Creek flows beneath the Going-to-the-Sun Highway. Piegan is located near Pollock Mountain which is the southern terminus of the Garden Wall. Piegan Mountain stands 9,220 feet above sea level and is 43rd tallest named summit in the Glacier-Waterton National Parks. It is just slightly higher than Pollock Mountain which stands at 9,190 feet. Bishops Cap even further to the north stands at 9,127 feet in elevation.
Although it does not possess the commanding presence of its near by neighbors Piegan Mountain is still a worthy destination for climbers who want to experience an easier climbing day in the Logan Pass Area with much less risk and see some incredible scenery. Possible side trips include Pollock Mountain as well as Bishops Cap. By reaching the summits of these three peaks in one day you will complete what my climbing crew calls “The Trifecta”.
Piegan Glacier sits below the summit on the north face.
Views of Piegan Mountain:
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Piegan from Gould Piegan from Many Glacier Valley Piegan from Heavy Runner
Description of Photos:
Piegan is the triangular peak in the left foreground. Traveling along the Garden Wall in this photo taken from Mount Gould are The Bishops Cap then to Pollock and finally Piegan Mountain. The sea of peaks in the background include Mount Jackson and Jackson Glacier. These three peaks are what the guys I climb with call the "Trifecta."
Piegan Mountain is the peak on the distant horizon that is on the left. Other peaks seen in this photo include: Pollock, The Bishops Cap, Gould, Grinnell and Wilbur on the right.
This July 2008 photo was taken from the Ptarmigan Tunnel. The lake below is Ptarmigan Lake. It is near this location that the incredible Ptarmigan Tunnel to Ahern Pass route begins as described on pages 163-167 in A Climber's Guide To Glacier National Park
This photo taken from the saddle between Heavy Runner and Reynolds shows Piegan on the right, followed by Pollock, The Bishops Cap and Gould. The peak in the shadows is Haystack Butte which is reached along the Highline Trail.
This photo shows the area behind Piegan and The Garden Wall. The Piegan Pass Trail can be seen snaking its way up from the Many Glacier Valley on its way to Siyeh Bend. J. Gordon Edwards suggests an alternate route down from Piegan or Pollock of descending to the Piegan Pass Trail near Cararact Mountain from the saddle between the two mountains. Surrounding this valley are Siyeh (not seen in the photo, Matahpi, Going-to-the-Sun and Piegan. By now the reader should be able to recognize Piegan which is the triangular shaped mountain in the right foreground. Pollock and part of the Garden Wall can also be seen. There is also a sea of peaks in the background. This photo was taken from Mount Gould.
The crown of the continent is located in northwestern Montana and shares a border with Waterton International Peace Park in Canada. Driving or taking a shuttle up the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only way to make it to Logan Pass and Piegan Mountain. Typically Logan Pass and Going-to-the-Sun Road opens near the end of June but it can be as early as the middle of June and as late as after July Fourth. The road isn’t open in the winter but you can ski there from St. Mary, Montana on Highway 89.
Click here for Road Information
regarding conditions, repairs and delay schedules as well as estimated opening dates.
To visit Glacier National Park is to visit a place were Heaven touches earth affording brief glimpses into the Wonders of Creation.
Glacier's Shuttle System Information:
Glacier Shuttle Bus
The 2010 shuttle system runs from July 1 to September 6, 2010.
Glacier National Park began offering a FREE shuttle service in 2007. This is a great option for exploring the park. The shuttle runs the entire Going-to-the-Sun Highway from St. Mary on the eastern border of Glacier to Apgar, near Lake McDonald, on the park’s western boundary. Some climbs are close enough to the shuttle route and are short enough in time requirements to allow use of the shuttle service. Piegan is one such climb. The earliest shuttle’s depart from Apgar at 7:00 a.m. and generally take 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Logan Pass due to road construction on the Westside of the Logan Pass. Trips from St. Mary are generally less lengthy and take an average of 60 minutes from St. Mary to Logan Pass. The first shuttle departs St. Mary at 7:00 a.m. The last shuttles depart from Logan Pass at 7:00 p.m.
The Park Service recommends being prepared to wait for shuttles with proper clothing, foot gear, water, snacks and other gear such as sun screen.
See the Glacier National Park’s website for more information at Shuttle Service
Piegan on the right, Pollock on the left, saintgrizzly photo
For current National Park Entrance Fees: Current Park Information
For all the laws governing Glacier National Park look at the Rules and Regulations
. You can find a PDF files here with government discourse about what to not do if you want to return home after your visit.
Climbing for day climbs in Glacier National Park is not required but it is recommended. Backcountry travel regulations can be found at Backcountry Travel
. There is also information from the Park Service on Mountain Climbing
As with all hiking and climbing in Glacier National Park use caution and practice good manners with the wildlife. You are in bear country. Carry your bear deterrent spray
, don’t hike alone and make some noise. For more information please go to the Park's website for Bear Information
. The U.S. Forest Service also has helpful information on Grizzly Bear Management
The Lunch Creek Basin, britishbulldog33 photo
An up-to-date guidebook for this route can be found in Climb Glacier National Park, Routes for Beginning and Intermediate Climbers; Volume 1: Logan Pass, The Garden Wall, and Siyeh Bend
. Purchase it when you arrive in northwestern Montana or purchase it on-line at Climb Glacier National Park
There is a climbing route described in J. Gordon Edwards’ A CLIMBER'S GUIDE TO GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
for Piegan Mountain. Edwards describes the approach from Lunch Creek
on pages 296-297.
Lunch Creek Route:
The climb to Piegan Mountain is slightly over 3,000 vertical feet on class 2 terrain the whole way. According to Edwards the total distance to the summit is less than 1 mile (but it seems more than that) and none of it is by trail.
Upon reaching the summit the views of Logan Pass and the surround peaks are spectacular. Going-to-the-Sun Mountain is glorious as is Matahpi and Siyeh. Views to the north are blocked by Mount Pollock, but a quick side trip to Pollock will afford views of Gould and the Many Glacier Valley.
Please note: If arriving in a private car there is ample parking at Lunch Creek. If taking the shuttle it will be necessary to walk or hitch-hike from Logan Pass down to Lunch Creek since there is no scheduled stop there. The views of Heavy Runner, Reynolds and Going-to-the-Sun are definitely worth the short hike.
Piegan Mountain from Piegan Pass
Piegan Mountain via Piegan Pass:
Edwards suggests an alternate descent from the saddle between Piegan and Pollock in dropping down to the Piegan Pass Trail and returning to Going-to-the-Sun Highway via Preston Park. Might I also suggest this as an alternative approach as well. Take some extra time and summit Cararact Mountain as well.
There is also ample parking at Siyeh Bend (unless the road contruction folks take it all for their equipment) and it is a shuttle stop with the only stop being at Logan Pass Shuttle or hitch-hike to Logan Pass. It is not advisable to walk back to Logan Pass as walking through the tunnel is prohibited.
Special Considerations:The rock in Glacier Park is widely varied and it is not unusual to find several different types of rock on any given route. Know your rocks and be certain of your safety. J. Gordon Edwards has an excellent section in his guidebook on rock and climbing safety. Be safe and know your limitations as well as those who are climbing with you. Also refer to the following links for further details: GNP Rock and Grading System and the GMS Climbing Guidelines.
When To Climb:
Nice Weather for Climbing?
It is possible to climb Piegan Mountain as soon as Going-to-the-Sun Highway is open. Prepare for steep snow if climbing if there is snow along the lower portion of Lunch Creek. Bringing an ice axe and crampons is advisable if these conditions exist.
Ideal times to climb are late July to September. Alpinists will experience a higher degree of challenge earlier and later in the season. Logan Pass closes at a moments notice due to poor road conditions and snowfall in October.
Weather and Equipment:Weather in the high country can change at a moments notice. Be prepared to carry a light jacket and other gear such as gloves for the frequent weather changes.
To illustrate this dramatic change in weather consider the following. My first ascent of Pollock was on a beautiful 65 degree day at Lunch Creek Bridge. We reached the summit in blowing snow with howling winds that nearly blew us off the saddle between Piegan and Pollock. Certainly a quick weather change.
Make sure you check out the Glacier Park Weather and always have extra protection if the weather changes.
No Camping at Logan Pass
Camping at Logan Pass is not permitted.
The options for camping include:
GNP Campground Information, USFS Campgrounds, Camping on the Blackfeet Reservation or East Glacier Campgrounds
External Links:Glacier National Park in Pictures
Glacier Mountaineering Society
Logan Pass Trails