Reynolds Mountain

August 19, 2015

2781m

Glacier National Park, MT

Reynolds Mountain is one of those that “stand out” when looking around from Logan Pass information center – a place that sees hundreds to thousands of tourists every day.. Taking advantage of the high starting point (more than 2000 m elevation at Logan Pass), and a well used approach trail (Hidden Lake Trail), this peak is doomed to draw significant attention from scramblers and climbers. I had memories from reading trip reports indicating it’s merely a Class 4 scramble so when Mike and I came down south to visit Glacier National Park, MT, I instantly knew I had to give Reynolds Mountain a shot. Having already ascended Mt. Gould and Haystack Butte earlier in the day I was quite bagged already, but I had to resist the urge of getting lazy.. While Mike smartly chose to take a short nap, I continued marching on solo. With only less than 4 hours daylight time left I had to be fast.

Reynolds Mountain scramble route

Reynolds Mountain scramble route. GPX DL

I didn’t quite know where the Hidden Lake trail started but assumed it’d be obvious. I ended up hiking through the information center and found the trail at its back side. The trail was one of the busiest I’d ever been on to (even busier than Larch Valley trail by Moraine Lake). I passed at least 100 tourists on their way down and they all wondered what the hack I was doing with the “big” pack… It didn’t take me long to arrive at near Hidden Lake Pass where the climber’s trail branches off to the left. It’s not a signed trail but fairly obvious. And perhaps due to the popularity of this mountain the climber’s trail was very well defined even on the few scree sections.

From Hidden Lake Pass trail, looking towards the Garden Wall and Mt. Gould

From Hidden Lake Pass trail, looking towards the Garden Wall and Mt. Gould

More of the Garden Wall

More of the Garden Wall

Going-to-the-Sun Mountain behind Logan Pass

Going-to-the-Sun Mountain behind Logan Pass

Reynolds Mountain - my objective

Reynolds Mountain – my objective

A goat

A goat

A pond at the trail junction. Behind is the tip of Heavy Runner Mountain

A pond at the trail junction. Behind is the tip of Heavy Runner Mountain

Another picture of Going-to-the-Sun Mountain

Another picture of Going-to-the-Sun Mountain

Reynolds Mountain

Reynolds Mountain

Panorama of the peaks North of Logan Pass. Click to view large size.

Panorama of the peaks North of Logan Pass. Click to view large size.

Almost at the base of my objective now.

Almost at the base of my objective now.

The trail led me to the base of Reynolds Mountain’s NW shoulder and once cresting the col I picked up a goat trail/path that contoured around the W. slopes on a rising traverse line. The wind was pushing me around at the col but once on the W. Face it died down. The scramble route goes up the SW slopes and once around the next corner I spotted a path with some cairns indicating I had to go straight up to break through the lower cliff bands (mostly moderate scrambling). Above the lower cliffs there were again, cairns and paths leading me up the slopes (treadmill scree) on a rising traverse line towards climber’s right. This part was quite foreshortening and checking my GPS I knew there’s still quite a ways to go.

Traversing scree on a goat path around the W. side of Reynolds

Traversing scree on a goat path around the W. side of Reynolds

Another goat...

Another goat…

From the SW corner, looking down to Hidden Lake

From the SW corner, looking down to Hidden Lake

The SW Face

The SW Face

Here I should go straight up the break the lower cliffs

Here I should go straight up the break the lower cliffs

Panorama looking south. Fusillade Mountain at center. Click to view large size.

Panorama looking south. Fusillade Mountain at center. Click to view large size.

Looking ahead to the complex upper mountain

Looking ahead to the complex upper mountain

The lower cliffs that I broke through

The lower cliffs that I broke through

Treadmill scree on the middle section

Treadmill scree on the middle section

After taking a necessary short break I continued upwards and onwards towards the complex upper cliff bands guarding the summit block. Without a detailed route description and cairns/paths it’d be very difficult to tell where the easiest line went. Thankfully I had abundance (well-placed) cairns to follow so had zero route-finding challenge. There’s a short section at the start that felt like maybe 4th class but everything else was nothing harder than 3rd class. I did have to traverse back-and-forth a few times including a long ledge way to the climber’s left, but again with all the cairns it’s difficult to get lost. I was surprised how fast I made to the top and before I realized I was already on the final summit ridge traverse. One-way ascent time was about 1 hour 50 minutes so I had plenty of time to get down before dark.

Approaching the upper cliffs

Approaching the upper cliffs

Here's that Class 3/4 difficult scrambling section

Here’s that Class 3/4 difficult scrambling section

Typical terrain looking across the upper cliffs

Typical terrain looking across the upper cliffs

The famous exposed corner that I've seen on a few other trip reports

The famous exposed corner that I’ve seen on a few other trip reports

The long ledge traverse that brought me far to the climber's left

The long ledge traverse that brought me far to the climber’s left

Then the slope angle eased a bit

Then the slope angle eased a bit

On the final summit ridge traverse now

On the final summit ridge traverse now

Smoky summit panorama. Click to view large size.

Smoky summit panorama. Click to view large size.

Going-to-the-Sun Mountain with Mataphi Peak to its left

Going-to-the-Sun Mountain with Mataphi Peak to its left

Mt. Siyeh

Mt. Siyeh

Mt. Gould, Bishops Cap and part of the Garden Wall

Mt. Gould, Bishops Cap and part of the Garden Wall

Clements Mountain and Mt. Oberlin

Clements Mountain and Mt. Oberlin

Mt. Logan (L) and Blackfoot Mountain (C)

Mt. Logan (L) and Blackfoot Mountain (C)

Peaks by Sperry Glacier - Edwards Mountain and Little Matterhorn

Peaks by Sperry Glacier – Edwards Mountain and Little Matterhorn

The massive bulk of Mt. Jackson

The massive bulk of Mt. Jackson

Me on the summit of Reynolds Mountain

Me on the summit of Reynolds Mountain

Looking down towards The Dragon's Tail

Looking down towards The Dragon’s Tail

And, looking down towards Heavy Runner Mountain

And, looking down towards Heavy Runner Mountain

And finally, looking down towards Hidden Lake

And finally, looking down towards Hidden Lake

The smoke obscured my views so I had little mood to stay long on the summit. Retracing my steps following the cairns/paths was nice and easy and in short time I was off the upper cliffs. The middle mountain was a fast scree skiing and the lower cliff bands were nothing challenge to down-climb neither. The only down-side was that hard ground was generally hard on my knees so I took quite a few short breaks along the way. The rest of the way back was uneventful except for I took a detour to the Hidden Lake Lookout for some extra views since I was doing good on time. My round trip time was roughly 3.5 hours but I was going fast.

Traversing along a key ledge on the descent

Traversing along a key ledge on the descent

Back down through the upper cliffs, looking back

Back down through the upper cliffs, looking back

Scree skiing this section was fast

Scree skiing this section was fast

Down through the lower cliffs

Down through the lower cliffs

Partway down the lower face.

Partway down the lower face.

More about the lower cliff bands

More about the lower cliff bands

Around the SW corner

Around the SW corner

The smoky sun and Bearhat Mountain

The smoky sun and Bearhat Mountain

Fusillade Mountain

Fusillade Mountain

The Dragon's Tail

The Dragon’s Tail

And, Reynolds Mountain

And, Reynolds Mountain

Sun and the reflections in Hidden Lake

Sun and the reflections in Hidden Lake

Clements Mountain at dusk

Clements Mountain at dusk

Panorama of the Garden Wall and peaks north of Logan Pass. Click to view large size.

Panorama of the Garden Wall and peaks north of Logan Pass. Click to view large size.

One last picture of Going-to-the-Sun Mountain

One last picture of Going-to-the-Sun Mountain

Bearhat Mountain at dusk

Bearhat Mountain at dusk

Overall I’d highly recommend Reynolds Mountain to competent scramblers looking for a classic in GNP, MT. It’s a short and enjoyable “difficult” scramble, and supposed to be super scenic too. Too bad I didn’t get to enjoy those views thank to the smoke. If I ever go back I’ll have to save Clements Mountain for a better day…

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