Divide Mountain
Closing out the long weekend, Marta Wojnarowska, Zosia Zgolak and I left Andrew Nugara's cabin near Mountain View, Alberta on the morning of 21 May 2018 in hopes of hiking up nearby Birdseye Butte.  As we turned onto the access road though, a person in a truck pulled up beside my car and informed us that there was absolutely no public access to the butte.  We promptly changed plans and headed across the border into Montana where we ended up climbing Divide Mountain on the eastern border of Glacier National Park near Saint Mary.  I had already tagged the summit of Divide Mountain in 2013, but I was more than happy to repeat the ascent with Marta and Zosia.

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.
Muchas gracias, Andrew! Sonny, Zosia, Andrew, Larry and Marta gather for a group photo in front of Andrew's cabin.
We added about 3.5 kilometres to our round-trip distance. Unable to drive past some lingering snow patches, Marta and Zosia walk the approach road for Divide Mountain.
Left is steeper, I think! 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.
I still think this is better saved for the descent, but it's all good! Marta and Zosia opt for the left side approach.
Steeper than it looks! 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.
We should have brought our skis! The snow slope begins to get uncomfortably steep which forces Marta and Zosia to escape to easier terrain in the rocks.
A good place to hang out if it's windy! An abandoned fire lookout building sits partway up the north ridge.
Go Marta! Marta scrambles up the north ridge with verve.
A rare moment when Zosia is actually behind me! Zosia leaves the lookout building behind to continue up the ridge.  At far left is Lower Saint Mary Lake.
If you get tired of the easy scrambling, you could always veer to the right to ascend the rubble slope! Marta and Zosia continue scrambling up the north ridge of Divide Mountain.
For those looking for a more challenging way up Divide Mountain... Marta pauses atop the eastern cliffs of Divide Mountain.

I still have a lot of peaks left to climb here!

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.


The snow was not a factor here on this day. Some lingering snow patches cling to the east side of the summit block.
"Zorba the Greek" would be appropriate! Marta, Zosia and Sonny dance on the summit of Divide Mountain (2635 metres).
Not as easy as Divide Mountain! White Calf Mountain is the next mountain to the south.
Mount Stimson is high on my to-do list... 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 Mount Jackson.
This is why I love Glacier National Park! The view to the west is worth another look.
Eva B. would be happy to see this! Saint Mary Lake and Lower Saint Mary Lake round out the view to the northwest.
Highway 89 is not the fastest route to get to East Glacier, but it is nevertheless very scenic. Marta and Zosia begin their descent.  Highway 89 can be seen winding through the distant prairies to the east.
Even while descending, I have a hard time keeping up with the Polish women! Zosia and Marta continue to descend the north ridge.  The lookout building is visible below.
Yep, it's a bit of a fixer-upper, but you can't beat the views! Here is another look at the dilapidated lookout building.
I managed to avoid most of the snow by sticking close to the rocks. Zosia and Marta carefully descend a very steep snow slope.
Dobra robota, panie! After the scramble, Zosia and Marta visit the Blackfeet Indian Memorial along Highway 89.  Divide Mountain is visible in the distance.
Even more enjoyable the second time! Total Distance:  7.8 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  6 hours 3 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  791 metres

GPX Data