Starting from Bear Creek trailhead (south side of US Highway 2 about 7.8 km southwest of turnoff to Devil Creek campground or 6.4 km southeast of the bridge over Middle Fork Flathead River), we walked past a vault toilet before crossing to the south side of Bear Creek on a good bridge. The trail seemingly goes in circles for the first kilometre or so as it takes a rather convoluted route around a short hill before dropping down to cross Edna Creek. Shortly after the creek crossing, we turned left at a signed junction for Edna Creek trail and began climbing steadily up through the forest. Snow patches became more abundant as we gained elevation, and we eventually lost the trail completely under a persistent blanket of snow. Fortunately, the snow was supportive enough to walk on, and route-finding was not too difficult on the upper part of the west ridge. We steered clear of a few massive cornices along the summit ridge, but otherwise, the final climb to the top was straightforward.
Because of the fantastic weather, we hung
out at the top for well over an hour before reluctantly retracing our
steps for the descent. The snow was a real boon on this day as we
plunge-stepped most of the upper mountain and much of the west ridge.
While the remainder of our hike out was uneventful, there were still some
minor annoyances at the end including the short climb after re-crossing
Edna Creek and the convoluted path near the trailhead. These
annoyances were all but forgotten once we returned to East Glacier to get
some ice cream. Zosia makes her best guess as to
where the trail goes up the ridge. Sonny, Zosia, Eva, John and Marta stand on the summit
of Mount Furlong (2252 metres). Visible to the northeast are
Elk Mountain (left of
centre) and the double peaks of Little Dog Mountain and Summit Mountain.
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
Marta, John and Eva cross Bear Creek
on a good bridge.
Eva, John and Marta cross Edna Creek
on a not-so-good bridge.
Marta, Zosia, Eva and John follow the
trail across a snow-covered slope.
The west ridge of Mount Furlong is partially clear of snow.
Marta, Eva and John pass some
lingering cornices on the west ridge.
The group wanders along the summit
ridge of Mount Furlong. Devils Hump is the snowy peak in the
Two snow-covered lakes sit in Tranquil
Basin to the east of Mount Furlong.
The peaks of Great Bear Wilderness can
be seen to the northwest. The big peak in the distance at
centre is Great Northern Mountain.
Across the valley to the north is
Running Rabbit Mountain which is within Glacier National Park.
Sticking up like a sore thumb on the right horizon is Mount Saint
John, Marta and Zosia descend the west
Eva and Marta plunge-step
down the snowy ridge.
The hike back to the
trailhead is pleasant and easy.
Marta, Zosia and Sonny
enjoy ice cream at a little park in East Glacier.
Distance: 14.9 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 7 hours 55 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 1072 metres
Zosia makes her best guess as to where the trail goes up the ridge.
Sonny, Zosia, Eva, John and Marta stand on the summit of Mount Furlong (2252 metres).
Visible to the northeast are Elk Mountain (left of centre) and the double peaks of Little Dog Mountain and Summit Mountain.
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak