Being luminaries of exploration in Glacier National Park leads to a common question: What’s the best way to experience the park’s vast interior?
Jake and Blake have the answers.
Jake Bramante and Blake Passmore, a pair of outdoor enthusiasts from Kalispell who’ve bagged the towering summits and vast trails of Glacier, published separate guides this spring that help adventure seekers follow their lead.
Volume Three of Passmore’s popular climbing series is focused on 17 peaks located above Lake McDonald, near Sperry Glacier Basin and along the Highline Trail. Geared toward beginner and intermediate hikers, the 176-page illustrated guidebook features detailed information for exploring some of Glacier’s essential trails and landmarks, including Heavens Peak, Iceberg Peak and Mount Grinnell, among others.
“(The guidebook) presents a safe way for people who are new to climbing or inexperienced to reach the summits,” Passmore said.
His previous two volumes, which centered on other sections of the park, like Logan Pass, the Garden Wall, Siyeh Bend and Two Medicine Valley, have sold nearly 6,000 copies since being released annually starting in 2011. The first volume became the No. 1 selling guidebook in Montana and is in its second printing. Three other volumes are planned for the future.
Passmore is a longtime mountaineer and contributes to the popular mountain climbing site, Summitpost.org. His published work garners respect in the climbing community, specifically because of Passmore’s extensive research and experience.
He said his goal is to introduce beginners to the incredible experience of seeing Glacier Park from the highest mountaintops.
“I’ve always loved being out climbing,” he said. “Seeing creation from the summits puts life in perspective.”
Bramante can share in that view, having enjoyed the idyllic panorama himself.
Two years ago, Bramante became the first known person to walk all 734 miles of established trail in Glacier in one season. After his milestone accomplishment, he produced an online resource, titled hike734.com, that featured multimedia and trail information from his journey.
But for his latest project he gave his legs a break and developed a driving guide for the park’s iconic thoroughfare.
Touted as the “ultimate guide for the perfect trip over the Going-to-the-Sun Road,” Bramante’s weatherproof pamphlet features a detailed map showing the best stops along the road. The graphical road map gives Glacier visitors a step-by-step tour of the Sun Road, with advice on times to travel and essential landmarks to pull over and visit.
“I wanted to help people have a great time in the park and experience the Going-to-the-Sun Road,” Bramante said. “The driving guide offers a self-guided tour to traveling the Sun Road in one day.”
The Sun Road can be flooded with people during summer and features countless places to stop. Oftentimes, visitors feel rushed to make it to Logan Pass while parking spots are available, but amid the hustle and bustle, the quality of the experience can be lost.
Bramante’s guide offers a functional itinerary — get to the top early, while parking is available and while the lighting is perfect for photos. From there, his guide makes sure visitors catch the best features nearby, including classic hikes that can be completed rather quickly while allowing for a full day of adventuring.
“I wanted to make it experience-focused,” Bramante said.
Bramante and Passmore teamed up on a spring tour around the state, dubbed the “Jake and Blake Road Trip.” They traveled through East Glacier, Great Falls, Helena, Bozeman, Missoula and Butte over four days with their new guidebooks.
“It was fun to get out there and hit the road,” Bramante said.
On the eve of summer, the two guides have landed in bookstores, travel stops and other sites across the state. For more information about Passmore’s latest climbing guide, visit climbglacier.com. For more information about Bramante’s driving guide, visit hike734.com.
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