Glacier Classic, Day 2: Citadel Mountain
Date: August 19, 2017
Trip Leader: Forest Dean
Participants: Bryan Kercher, John Bardsley
The three of us got started at 7:30 am from the Jackson Glacier Overlook under (surprisingly) cloudy skies. We quickly lost 600’ on the 1.3 mile hike down to the Gunsight Pass Trail. A mostly level hike through forest over the next 1.1 miles put us at a spot due north of the great north cirque between Citadel and Dusty Star Mountains. Here we put sandals on and made a knee deep crossing of the gentle St. Mary River. The bushwack then began as we started up slope. Using some recent beta we stuck fairly close to the east side of the creek draining the cirque and found the going mostly tolerable. A few hundred vertical feet of dense alder was the crux of it, but we were able to plow through that in less than a half hour. Beyond that we ascended through the typical Glacier high country: small bands of cliffs, scree and talus slopes and around krummholz outcrops. The high hanging valley was very pleasant with the huge northeast face of Citadel looming above us. We cut up the east side of this cirque to a final scramble up to a 7920’ saddle. From here we enjoyed a nice ridge walk for the next several hundred feet before steep, broken cliffs forced us on to the south side of the mountain. We traversed along scree shelves until the second to last gully east of the south ridge. From there we picked our way up solid class 3 terrain to the 9030’ summit. Arrived there about 1:10pm and spent half an hour eating and taking pictures. We retraced our steps back to the 7920’ saddle, debated a quick climb up Dusty Star (opted against) then headed back down toward the river. Descent was uneventful and we were back at river crossing by 5:15. Crossed river, gained the trail and arrived back at trailhead at 6:30. 11 hour day with 5500’ of elevation gain and approximately 11 miles of travel. Excellent day of hiking and climbing with two great partners!