Glacier National Park’s poor man’s Many Glacier

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  • Mad Wolf and Bad Marriage Mountains loom over Cut Bank Creek.

  • 1

    Bighorn sheep gather on the flanks of Mount James.

  • 2

    A bighorn sheep ewe rests on a ledge in Glacier National Park.

  • 3

    Looking down toward Medicine Grizzly Lake from the Triple Divide Pass Trail.

  • 4

    Bighorn sheep traverse the slopes near Triple Divide Pass.

  • 5

    The half moon rises over Mad Wolf Mountain.

  • 6

    The sun sets over a backwater along the trail.

  • Mad Wolf and Bad Marriage Mountains loom over Cut Bank Creek.

  • 1

    Bighorn sheep gather on the flanks of Mount James.

  • 2

    A bighorn sheep ewe rests on a ledge in Glacier National Park.

  • 3

    Looking down toward Medicine Grizzly Lake from the Triple Divide Pass Trail.

  • 4

    Bighorn sheep traverse the slopes near Triple Divide Pass.

  • 5

    The half moon rises over Mad Wolf Mountain.

  • 6

    The sun sets over a backwater along the trail.

In a lot of ways, the Cut Bank drainage is the poor manís Many Glacier. It doesnít have as many lakes. It doesnít have a big lodge, or massive campground. But it also doesnít have the crowds and in a lot of ways, itís more interesting, and just as beautiful.

On this day, the goal was to hike to Triple Divide Pass, aptly named because the water that falls on Triple Divide Peak drains to three separate oceans ó the Pacific, Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

It was a warm and windy day and the hope was to do a mountain goat survey near the pass for the Park Service. We made it to within 15 minutes of the pass and turned around at some high angle snowfields. We probably could have traversed them, but a mistake also would have sent us plummeting down the cliffs toward Medicine Grizzly Lake.

So we bagged it. Still, there were plenty of bighorn sheep on the flanks of Mount James along the way, which were a pleasant diversion. They were fat and woolly and ready for winter.

All told, the hike was about 14 miles round trip. A brisk breeze blew us back to the trailhead and a pair of gray jays followed just out in front of us, nabbing grasshoppers along the way.

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