Glacier Park: Reynolds Mountain

Categories: Montana

This summer I was able to climb my 17th mountain in Glacier National Park. Mt. Reynolds is one of the two peaks that frames the famous Logan’s Pass. It’s nearly in the center of the park, so the views from the top are appropriately amazing. I was offered the “Grand Tour” by my friend Stephen, who has been up the peak several times. Stephen and I used to work together at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. Since then he has become a formidable mountaineer, climbing over 100 of the peaks in the park, some with Gordon Edwards, who wrote the famous Climber’s Guide to Glacier Park. He’s climbed much larger peaks outside the park, including Denali. So i was in good hands. It was to be the first peak in the park i’d tried since the 1990’s.

Reynolds Mountain is an off trail mountaineering route that involves great exposure at times and requires mountaineering experience. The Grand Tour involves traversing a pretty frightening narrow ledge all the way across the North Face of the peak. It was a great day with no issues. Enjoy the pictures!

Mt. Clements is from some angles like a reverse mirror image of Reynolds.

The North Face of Mt. Reynolds. Our goal was to traverse the prominent diagonal line across the top half.

Subalpine tundra of Logans Pass.

After what seemed like not much longer than it took us to find a place to park we arrived at the base of the mountain. From this angle it looks like a sleeping guardian from Shadow of the Colossus.

Getting above the first wall of cliffs required trudging up a long, very steep gully full of loose rocks. 

Gully views. At least we were gaining altitude very quickly.

Looking down at Stephen from the top of the gully on the left, and on the right looking up at what was next.

Stephen pausing near the beginning fo the traverse. Hidden Lake is visible below.

This was the exposed traverse. We were aiming for that little patch of rock in the sunlight in the upper right. Some people turn around here. Straight ahead is Going to the Sun Mountain, which i always thought i had climbed with now famous mountaineer Jimmy Chin. But after this day i’m beginning to wonder if we actually climbed the peak on the left, with is Matahpi Peak.

Stephen pauses on the wall after one of the exposed sections. It’s a big drop.

By the time I got my first glimpse of the South side we were already high enough that the view was spectacular. In the distance is the Blackfoot Glacier.

Looking down at the thinly carved Heavy Runner Mountain. St. Mary’s Lake is on the right. 

Looking almost straight down at Hidden Lake. Stephen has climbed Bearhat Mountain (the shaded wall that makes up the left side of the photo) and says it looks even more straight down from that peak.

The summit shoulder.

The top of Reynolds is pretty narrow but it’s also nice and generally flat.

The Dragon’s Tail. Lake McDonald is in the distance on the right.

A zoomed in view of Sperry Glacier. You can see a melt pool over there.

The two of us on the summit. It was very windy that day and my hat was tied to my head because the wind had already blown it away earlier.

An overview of Logan’s Pass. Mt. Cleveland, the highest peak in the park, can be seen in the far distance left of center. I was with Stephen when i went to climb that peak too. Pollock Mountain is the summit pyramid on the right and on the far right is Yellow Mountain. What appears to be the highest peak right of center is Mt. Gould, which i climbed with my friend Jimmy Gordon.

All of Hidden Lake! Bearhat Mountain lies directly across it.

The geometric valley directly below the east face of the peak looked amazing. I think i’m going to have to spend a day exploring it in the future.

The nice thing about the Grand Tour is you climb all the way around the entire mountain, so the view is always different.

A much lower view of the Dragon’s Tail. It looks like a straightforward ascent right up the tail but that is the wrong way and ends in high cliffs.

Almost off the cliffs on the way down.

Back on a trail! From here it’s a very easy walk back along the western skree slopes.

The light was getting very nice.

Back where we started and above an empty hollow that used to hold a glacier.

We met these two employees near the summit so we were surprised to have them come up behind us. In the meantime they had tried going up the Dragon’s Tail but went the wrong way.

Fantastic evening light on Logan’s Pass makes you want to take a picture every 10 feet.

We ran into a herd of mountain goats blocking the trail. We walked up around them but they got up and a couple of them ran in front of us while the rest decided to follow a while behind us.

Back on the incredibly long boardwalk. I had a great time and had always wanted to climb up Reynolds.

A goat heads towards Clements. Great day.

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