Chief Mountain: Glacier's Sacred Peak

Chief Mountain
"5231_NRCS_projects" by NRCS Montana is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Chief Mountain (or in Blackfoot, Ninaistako) is a peak on the border of the Blackfoot Reservation and Glacier National Park.  Due to its height and the lay of the surrounding land, it is visible from both Montana and Alberta. 

Chief Mountain
"Chief Mountain" by trekkingalldays is marked with CC0 1.0

The peak has been sacred to Native-Americans for centuries.  The first white men to see it were almost certainly French or Spanish fur trappers in the late 18th century. 

Chief Mountain
"Chief Mountain Customs Station, Glacier National Park" by Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0

White people first ascended the peak in 1892 when a team (including a Blackfoot man) assembled by Henry Stimson managed to make the peak.  But when they reached the peak they found many offerings previously left by Natives, including bison skulls. Since then it has remained an irresistible challenge for mountain climbers, and was not scaled again until 1951.

Chief Mountain
"5252_NRCS_projects" by NRCS Montana is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Native-American legends say that a "Great White God" would appear on the mountain at the end of time, heralding the apocalypse.  When the god leaves the mountain, they say, it will crumble into dust.

Chief Mountain
"5231_NRCS_projects" by NRCS Montana is marked with CC PDM 1.0

The easiest access to the peak comes from the eastern side, though some have scaled the western as well.  For more information, go to the visitor's centers at St. Mary or at Many Glacier (when they're open!)

Chief Mountain silhouette
"Spring Sunset over Glacier National Park" by GlacierNPS is marked with CC PDM 1.0

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