Summer is for Peak Bagging

By Beacon Staff

Every week, loose-knit hiking groups from Whitefish hit Glacier National Park trails. For one hiking group of women, Wednesday upped the ante of their adventures when they scaled 9,513-foot Rising Wolf Mountain.

For a few of the six women, it marked their inauguration into climbing big peaks. Via the south route, they ascended 4,500 feet straight up from Two Medicine Lake, scrambling through scree and cliff ledges. They encountered steep snow below the summit, which forced them onto an exposed knife of diorite.

Despite some having a fear of heights, the women slowly worked the route to the summit. “It was sure a confidence booster,” said Mary Schwada, upon reaching the summit. The six descended the ridge traverse to Dawson Pass to complete the 14-mile loop.

Mixed weather greeted the women at the 9,513-foot summit where they looked down on Dawson Pass and spotted Great Northern with Stanton Glacier in the distance. –Becky Lomax, for the Beacon

Local weekly hiking groups range in ages, ability, and challenge level. Rather than being organized by the parks departments, most are collections of friends and acquaintances that keep in contact by email. To get involved with a hiking group, ask around at the sports shops. To hike off-trail and climb with experienced leaders, check into Glacier Mountaineering Society (

Cindy Weaver and Mary Schwada descend the traverse from Rising Wolf to Dawson Pass. –Becky Lomax, for the Beacon

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