Back in the day before Glacier became a National Park there were a lot of folks naming peaks and places.
You could name a mountain for your business associate or a government official. You could name a lake for that special someone at home. Sometimes people did not even need to visit and they got a landmark named for them.
Eventually, it all came down to some officials making recommendations to Washington D. C. and changing names. There was a whole criteria that needed to met so they could weed out a few inappropriate names.
One character that played a big role in naming places in Glacier National Park was James Willard Schultz.
Schultz’s Big Knife Mountain is Pollock Mountain. At least that is what Schultz and his companions wanted to name it.
Schultz apparently wanted to name it for a white man, likely, W. C. Pollock. Pollock is the actual namesake for the Schultz’s Big Knife Mountain.
Big Knife and Long Knife were well-used Native American terms for “white man.” They have been used since early colonial times.
You might already know that there is a Long Knife Mountain between the USA – Canada Border and Kintla Lake. I would show you a picture but it was cloudy the day we visited.
“Big Knife Mountain” is a thrill to explore. It is usually approached from Lunch Creek but can also be reached from Piegan Pass after hiking from Siyeh Bend.
There are multiple opportunities for exploration for those who do not wish to summit Pollock Mountain.
Here are some suggestions for adventure.
Volume 1 of Climb Glacier National Park has photos and descriptions to help you reach of all of the places listed below.
- Lunch Creek Waterfalls. Take about 30 minutes and hike to the waterfall that you can see in the distance from the bridge at Lunch Creek. A few climbers trails thread their way through the krumholtz before consolidating into a main trail. Stay on the right side of the creek as you ascend. Krumholtz is the small evergreen trees that are found above treeline in Glacier National Park. The Lunch Creek Basin is full of it.
- Lunch Creek Basin. Spend about 2 hours exploring the basin above the waterfall. Look for a trail to the right of the waterfall that leads to the basin.
- Piegan Pass Flowers. The slopes above Piegan Pass are often littered with flowers. If you are lucky you will find the goat trail that leads all the way to the saddle between Piegan Mountain and Pollock Mountain.
- Piegan – Pollock Saddle. A great place for lunch above the Lunch Creek Basin. Look for mountain goats, marmots, flowers, snowfields and a few climbers.
- Summit Pollock Mountain by The Great Cleft Route. This is a classic Glacier route.
For more information on how to reach the summit of Pollock Mountain please see the route description on pages 110 – 119 in Volume 1 of Climb Glacier National Park.
Thanks for joining me and reading about the peak that might have rather been called Big Knife Mountain. This mountain is certainly easier to reach and climb than Long Knife Mountain near Kintla Lake.
Glacier National Park history is fascinating.
Not all of it is true but it is all interesting.
© Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2013