Glacier National Park, Various Ascents. E1 Niño gave northwest Montana the unusual mix of cold weather and little snow in November and December. As a result, most of the park roads were kept open, giving climbers easier access to several remote basins. The new route action began in the Avalanche Lake area. On November 15,I soloed a route called Claire De Lune (IV WI3, 300'). This climb is situated to the right of The Pig, and is approached via a tight ice-filled cleft which in itself sports about 300 feet of WI2-3. Soon afterward, Missoula climbers Jim Earl, Chris Trimble, and Rafael Grana climbed a route on the spectacular head- wall to the left of The Pig and Claire De Lune: Slog and Flog (IV WI5, 150') is approached by the same ice-filled cleft. Trimble then teamed up with Kelly Cordes, also of Missoula, to produce another classic, Staggering Corps (IV WI5, 300'). This line is just left of Slog and Flog. The headwall that contains these two routes was named “Bubba’s Moonshine Wall.” Still psyched for early season ice, Cordes and Grana returned to Avalanche Lake for another round. Setting their sights on one of the massive gullies on the west face of Bearhat Mountain, the two climbed about 1,000 feet of steep snow with intermittent ice. Their exciting finale included intermittent avalanches produced by a sudden storm that nearly ripped Graña off the last pitch while Cordes belayed from the shelter of some trees. Wanda’s Wicked Sister (IV WI4, 1,000') is a steep slot with no obvious exits for its entire length. It fills with snow as the season progresses, and is not recommended.
Mark Venery, unaffiliated