Triple Divide Peak

  • Triple Divide Peak
  • 2444 m.
  • Primary factor 97m
  • Glacier National park, Montana
  • Location: North 48:34.38, West 113:31.01
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3
  • Climbed in June 1997


How to get there: Take the dirt road leading into Glacier National Park from Highway 89. The road ends after four miles at the Cut Bank ranger station and the trailhead.
Route description: Hike four (long and mosquito-infested) miles along Cut Bank Creek through the forest on the valley floor, until the trail forks. We had heard that there are many bears in this area, and indeed, the trail leading into the basin (to the lake beneath Triple Divide and Razoredge Mountain) was closed due to a grizzly on the trail.
Follow the north (right) fork, which passes a campground and leads for 3.5 miles to Triple Divide Pass. The last 2.5 miles or so can be tough; the trail emerges from the forest onto a long, open stretch, where you gain 1800 feet. There is no shade, and no water (except what you carry with you).
After reaching Triple Divide Pass, you see the steep face of the peak towering above. From here, there are two options:
A) Scramble south towards the saddle between Triple Divide and Razoredge Mountain, and follow one of the steep scree gullies up onto the ridge. Follow it to the summit. (Note: when we were here (June), this route was covered with snow, so ice-axes are recommended if you do the hike early in the summer).

B) Scramble straight up towards the summit. When the slope really starts to steepen, scramble a bit left into the basin. Climb upwards until you reach a distinct orange ledge which crosses the entire upper face of the peak (the ledge can be seen on the above photo, as a dark stripe leading across the upper face). Follow the ledge left until you emerge onto the summit ridge. The ledge is narrow in places, and the exposure might seem big, but the crossing is still quite straightforward.
Note: the rock is extremely rotten and loose here. Care must be taken.

When you emerge onto the summit ridge, follow it to the top. It's neither steep nor exposed, and is extremely straightforward.
On the return, follow any of these routes. Be advised that the ledge route should not be attempted if it is snowy/icy or with large clumsy backpacks...
Comments: This is a "Triple Continental Divide." A bottle of water carefully poured on the summit cairn will drain down the Pacific, Atlantic and Hudson Bay Creeks, and flow to the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Hudson Bay, respectively. There are very few such places in the world (in fact, we do not know the location of other similar points, although they should (at least in theory) exist whenever there is a continent with a large body of water (oceans) at three sides.
We climbed the ledge route going up, and down the gully from the pass (route A).