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Climbing Mt. Siyeh
Mt. Siyeh is one of six summits in Glacier National Park that is over 10,000 ft. It is the easiest of the 10,000 ft peaks to reach and has fantastic views all the way around!
A big shout out to Blake Passmore and his Climb Glacier National Park books which are incredibly helpful in finding routes to summits. If you are planning on climbing anything in Glacier National Park, check out his books at his Climb Glacier site.
It was another beautiful, bluebird Sunday when we took off from a very windy Siyeh Bend. We hiked up the trail toward Siyeh Pass through the trees, creeks and mountain flowers. Once we popped out into the meadows at the junction and heading into Preston Park, we were overwhelmed by the flowers. Thankfully the wind, while still blowing, had died down a little.
The more popular climbing route on the south face has you going up the creek bed with the biggest scree runout. We decided to go up a slightly different route which I had done before, and prefer, which is up a creek bed further west where the green grows higher. It tends to have less loose rock in the creek bed.
We ascended up the grassy scree slope to the creek bed, then climbed up the terraced creek bed to the cliff wall. From there, we worked our way east along the base of the wall to a nice chute up to the long, broad scree slope. If you climb this, at first, you feel like you are almost there, however, you have a long scree climb ahead. It’s better to get your mind in the right mode, otherwise it can feel like forever.
As we worked our way up the scree slope, I noticed a round dark spot on the hillside and wondered if it was a bear. Sure enough, a grizzly bear was up there turning over rocks, looking for moths. After watching it for a little bit, we saw that it had a cub with it and we waited to see what it would do. At the same time, some people who we had seen earlier on the summit were coming down. They were aware of the bears and told us another one had been spotted below the red cliffs near the summit.
After figuring out the bears were going to hang out below the snowfield, we worked our way along the climbers trail to the ridge, around them. Once on the ridgeline, we kept our eyes open for the other bear and eventually saw it. It too was overturning rocks, looking for moths and being pestered by hungry ravens looking for some bugs as well. A look back down to the sow and cub found them taking a nap.
All through the cliff bands, the scree field, past the bears and onto the shoulder, the views continued to delight and get better. Glaciers were visible all around. Mt. Siyeh is located at such a great spot to look deep into Glacier National Park in all directions.
Once at the top, 360 degree views take your breath away. This summit also boasts the steepest cliff face at over 4,000 ft to the mint green Cracker Lake. You can even see up into the Grinnell Glacier basin where Upper Grinnell Lake sits perched high above the valley floor.
We ate, relaxed, took photos, then headed back down. The sow and cub were still sleeping until we got below them, then they started moving around again. We decided to take the popular creek bed down as it had a better trail and more markers. Once we hit the trail below, we cruised on down past the flower meadows, the trees, the creeks, and to our cars.
Mt. Siyeh in Glacier National Park is a sublime hike with a nice variety of climbing, a great approach, and wonderful views. We got the extra treat of some beautiful bruins along the way.
For our GPS Tracks, click here.
24 responses to “Climbing Mt. Siyeh”
So how close were you at the closest to the bears? In all our hikes in Glacier, the only time we had to turn back because of bears on the trail was the Siyeh trail- we were on the way to Piegan Pass.
PS- I won’t pan your panning this time.
The picture of Upper Grinnell is MOST spectacular!
Do you have the GPS track for this scramble?
I’ll be in the area in September and would like to climb this mountain 🙂
I’ve noticed in some trail reports/pictures some hikers used helmets, is this a must? I am planning on doing this next weekend weather permitting. Any recommendations just in general for this hike? I found your post to be very helpful as far as trail route.
Thanks for this useful information! Is there any difference in the difficulty level of your way up vs. Blake Passmore’s way up?
How long did it take to summit? Thanks
We had a group of 6 of us ranging from ages 10-40 and it took us around 6 hours – we spent a good 30 minutes at the top as there was no wind and we just enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t really go hard, just enjoyed the hike.
What is the length of the hike to the summit from the parking area and what’s the total elevation gain?
Thanks for the post! I was the first guy up the mountain that day. Only saw the male bear, which came sliding down the snowfield behind me. I headed up to the summit, hoping the bear wouldn’t block the descent route. Great to have the bear pics, glad I didn’t know about the other bears…
How does this compare to Mount Oberlin summit climb? Trying to get an idea of how much skill is needed for a climb like this. Me and 3 friends will be coming out there this fall and will climb Oberlin first to get some practice in the area and would like to do one more – either Reynolds or Siyeh probably. Does one need special climbing skills or rather just overall fitness, confidence, and no fear or heights? Thanks!
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I will definitely take you advice into consideration. Can’t wait to be there!
My son and I are planning on doing this the first week of September this year. Taking your advice and going to do Oberlin first though. Any other advise would be appreciated