On this day, lingering snow patches prevented us from driving all the way to the usual trailhead, and we had to start much lower and further away than I would have preferred. Still, we made up the extra distance and elevation gain without difficulty and were soon at the base of the mountain's north ridge. Although there was still a lot of snow plastered to the east side of the ridge, Marta and Zosia spotted some footprints heading up the steep slope, and we decided to follow them most of the way up to the ridge crest. Once we reached the ridge crest, we settled into an enjoyable and straightforward scramble up the snow-free north ridge.
Blessed with warm and windless conditions, we spent about 50 minutes on the summit ogling the panoramic views before reluctantly commencing our descent. While the north ridge was easy enough to descend, we had a bit more trouble getting down the east side of the ridge. We avoided the steep snow slope we had come up and ended up hugging a sliver of dry ground near the edge of a cliff. Although the terrain was challenging to descend, we all managed to get down without a scrape and subsequently hiked back to my car without further problems.
A very big "THANK YOU" goes out to Andrew
and his step-father, Larry Poulin, for their generous hospitality in
hosting Marta, Zosia and me for the long weekend.
Notable peaks visible to the west behind Saint Mary Lake include
Matahpi Peak, Goat Mountain,
Mount Siyeh and
Sonny, Zosia, Andrew, Larry and Marta
gather for a group photo in front of Andrew's cabin.
Unable to drive past some lingering
snow patches, Marta and Zosia walk the approach road for Divide
This is the usual trailhead for the
ascent of Divide Mountain. It is possible to ascend either the
snowy ridge at left or the skyline ridge on the right.
Marta and Zosia opt for the left side
Zosia and Marta start up the snowy
ridge but would soon head left into the trees. Note the cornice
of snow high on the ridge.
The snow slope begins to get
uncomfortably steep which forces Marta and Zosia to escape to easier
terrain in the rocks.
An abandoned fire lookout building sits partway up the north ridge.
Marta scrambles up the north ridge
Zosia leaves the lookout building
behind to continue up the ridge. At far left is Lower Saint
Marta and Zosia continue scrambling up
the north ridge of Divide Mountain.
Marta pauses atop the eastern cliffs
of Divide Mountain.
Some lingering snow patches cling to
the east side of the summit block.
Marta, Zosia and Sonny dance on the
summit of Divide Mountain (2635 metres).
White Calf Mountain is the next
mountain to the south.
A sea of snowy peaks stretch away to
the southwest. Peaks that are easy to identify on the horizon
include Mount James, Mount Stimson, Blackfoot Mountain, and
The view to the west is worth another
Saint Mary Lake and Lower Saint Mary
Lake round out the view to the northwest.
Marta and Zosia begin their descent.
Highway 89 can be seen winding through the distant prairies to the
Zosia and Marta continue to descend
the north ridge. The lookout building is visible below.
Here is another look at the
dilapidated lookout building.
Zosia and Marta carefully descend a
very steep snow slope.
After the scramble, Zosia and Marta
visit the Blackfeet Indian Memorial along Highway 89. Divide
Mountain is visible in the distance.
Round-Trip Time: 6 hours 3 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 791 metres
Notable peaks visible to the west behind Saint Mary Lake include Reynolds Mountain, Mount Vaught, Clements Mountain, Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, Piegan Mountain, Matahpi Peak, Goat Mountain, Mount Siyeh and Cracker.