It always holds significant meaning for me to coordinate a climb for the J. Gordon Edwards Climbing Day. Knowing Many Glacier was a special area for Gordon, I usually try to find a peak in this area to coordinate for the event. Apikuni Mountain is a relatively straightforward, non-technical climb in an area of Many Glacier that is normally not affected by the typical area closures due to bear traffic. The ascent is a deceptively high 4,000 foot gain though, so adequate conditioning is encouraged. Our group met early enough on this day to attempt neighboring Mt. Henkel as well, which is connected to Apikuni to the southwest by a beautiful ridge with views in all directions. The route begins at the Apikuni Falls trailhead and, after the falls, it follows a climber’s trail into a gorgeous meadow in the Apikuni Creek basin. This is the same basin that also provides the common route to Natahki Lake. The climber’s trail leads gradually uphill to the northeast until it fades away. Hardly any bushwhacking is required after this point as climbers gain access to mostly-open scree slopes or dry drainages that provide a direct path to Apikuni’s southeast summit ridge. The summit ridge by itself affords an excellent panorama of the Many Glacier valley especially with the impressive hulk of Allen Mountain directly south. As our group continued to the top, views only improved!
After lunch on the summit, we hiked the ridge toward our second goal of Mt. Henkel. At the base of the Henkel summit block, we made a group decision not to continue upward due to the increased difficulty of the climb ahead of us (Class 4 couloir) compared against the overall group experience. All was not lost, however, as we descended down easy scree slopes into the Natahki Basin and enjoyed some relaxing and feet soaking by Natahki Lake. From this rarely-visited area, we also considered summiting Altyn Peak but decided to enjoy the scree run down to the Swiftcurrent area. Some of our group had not “scree skied” before, so we discussed briefly the techniques involved. The altered route via Natahki Basin still allowed for a preferred one-way, non-retracing day and culminated with cool refreshments at the Swiftcurrent camp store. What I enjoyed about my climbing team this day was the wide range of experience levels that combined into a cohesive, friendly group. For one of the climbers, Apikuni was her first summit in the Park! I often agree with Gordon’s sentiments about the various peak experiences; regarding the Apikuni Falls route he states “this route is not really much fun,” but I think on this day, the trip was pleasant and enjoyable. Thanks to Martin Shrock for volunteering as co-coordinator, and hopefully he is listed in this Journal as a coordinator for 2009!
Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Tim Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.
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