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GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

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GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Brad Snider » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:32 am

Been monitoring the trail conditions on the NPS site and it looks like our planned Highline Trail hike for the 23rd is not going to happen. As an alternative I'm thinking Many Glacier / Swiftcurrent Pass Trail to Swiftcurrent Lookout is a possibility. Or, ideally, I'd like to traverse from Swiftcurrent Pass along the Garden Wall to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook. On the 24th, planning to hike to Iceberg Lake.

My questions, for anyone who has been there recently or might know:

1. What is the current condition atop the Garden Wall between Swiftcurrent Pass and Grinnell Glacier Overlook? Is it melted out at all along the ridge crest? I would love to get to the GG Overlook if at all possible.

2. Iceberg Lake--The trail looks fine to be hiked for the 24th. Does anyone know if the lake is melted out at all? If it is still snow-covered I might go for Cracker Lake instead.

3. Any GNP experts have any other recommended day hikes of 20 miles or less that would be good alternatives? Summit ideas always welcome, also, of course, but because of my hiking companions I'd like to keep the elevation gain to under 4,000 feet. My goal is to get the most scenery out of 2 days of hiking in GNP as possible.

Any input much appreciated, as always!
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby rebelgrizz » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:41 am

Check out the Two Medicine area and also the southern peaks along Marias Pass...many of these peaks have pages on SP...I have not been over there yet, but I know Flatheadnative was in Two Medicine last week and I believe was planning on going again today....if you're not into crowds then definitely check out the Marias Pass peaks....Elk, Little Dog, Summit, Calf Robe, and maybe Red Crow @ Firebrand Pass
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby GlacierCountry » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:49 pm

Agree with RebelGriz, Little Dog and Summit mtns would be great; spectacular views north across glacier and it's melted off enough to travel safely now. It's a decent slog up scree slopes to get there so your partners should be in good shape. Mosquitos are horrendous until out of the trees!
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Bob Sihler » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:47 pm

There is a lot of snow right now around the Swiftcurrent Glacier, but the tops of the ridges should be clear enough for traversing already. It's getting up there that would be the issue right now. If you can do it, though, go for it; that traverse is a great one. http://www.summitpost.org/garden-wall-glacier-overlook-to-swiftcurrent-pass/226811

Consider the Scenic Point Trail out of Two Medicine and then doing the traverse with Medicine, Henry, and Appistoki. I was out there last Friday, and snow was not an issue at all. Henry is a great peak, and the views are superb. It's in the neighborhood of 14 miles. http://www.summitpost.org/mount-henry-gnp/388239

I was at Iceberg Lake a week ago today. There were snowbanks to negotiate for the last mile, but nothing troublesome. Hikers of all types were out there and doing fine. The lake was still totally frozen, though, with literally less than two feet of open water along the shore. I do not expect it to change too much by July 24. You might find a partially open lake, but probably no icebergs yet, at least not the way you see it in all the pictures.

I can email you pics of the areas mentioned if you're interested.

You might also consider Divide Mountain and Altyn Peak. Both are clear. Divide is one mile with 1800' of gain. Altyn is about 3000' of gain with a one-way distance of 1.5-2.5 miles from the south or west. I did the South America route mentioned in the Edwards guide, and it's the most direct of the established routes. I did find a potentially significant problem with the Edwards description, but I probably won't have a route page up in time for your trip. However, PM or email me for details if you're interested in that, too.

http://www.summitpost.org/divide-mountain/153168
http://www.summitpost.org/altyn-peak/557113
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Bob Sihler » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:48 pm

Brad, below is the ridge you are talking about; it is in the center of the picture, and this view is from Altyn Peak in Many Glacier. The date was 7/11. There appears to be both open and covered terrain along the crest. Swiftcurrent Pass is right of the "bump," and you can see that there will be snow on the trail. The way up to Granite Park from the Loop should be marked but will be mostly under snow, too. Swiftcurrent Mountain appeared to be bare of snow.
Image

Here are shots of Iceberg Lake and the final trail section, taken 7/12:
Image
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Brad Snider » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:16 am

Thanks everyone for the beta, and Bob for the current pics. I've been enthralled by that Garden Wall Traverse since you first posted those amazing smoky pics on SP. I think we'll still go for Swiftcurrent Pass from Many Glacier on the 23rd. We'll be carrying axes for sure. If the Garden Wall ridge is in, we'll try for the GG Overlook; if not we'll just go up Swiftcurrent Mountain instead. Will probably pass on Iceberg if the ice isn't broken up yet, which opens up another day to explore any of these other suggestions / Two Medicine area sounds appealing. Wish I had more time there!
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Dottie Little Tent » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:26 am

I guess you know by know a hiker fell to his death on Grinnel Glacier trail today on a snow slope. Anyway I will be up there on the 26th, so I also would much appreciate updates on conditions. Some of the trails I am considering would be Siyeh Pass, Flinch Peak, maybe Floral park to Sperry if I am up to it and conditions seem favorable.
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby rebelgrizz » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:33 am

Dottie Little Tent wrote:Some of the trails I am considering would be Siyeh Pass, Flinch Peak, maybe Floral park to Sperry if I am up to it and conditions seem favorable.
Of the three you've mentioned, I would think your best bet is Flinsch, although I'm pretty sure the trail up to Dawson Pass is snow-covered, I believe Flinsch for the most part, may be snow free....anything around Logan Pass, like Floral Park, probably not until mid-to late August...if then. Flatheadnative has been to Two Med twice already...send him a PM
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:30 pm

Dottie Little Tent wrote:I guess you know by know a hiker fell to his death on Grinnel Glacier trail today on a snow slope. Anyway I will be up there on the 26th, so I also would much appreciate updates on conditions. Some of the trails I am considering would be Siyeh Pass, Flinch Peak, maybe Floral park to Sperry if I am up to it and conditions seem favorable.


There are still massive amounts of snow in the Siyeh Pass area.

Flinsch looks doable. There is definitely plenty of snow along the way to Dawson Pass, though. But the ridges are clear. The pics below are from 7/15.

Dawson Pass to the right, with lots of snow in the basin but nothing like what's around Siyeh right now:
Image

The ridges and saddle between Flinsch and Rising Wolf and between Flinsch and Dawson Pass:
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby EarMountain » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:02 pm

Yesterday, Wednesday July 20, our group climbed Flinsch. There is a large snow drift covering the trail about one half mile before Dawson Pass. Yesterday that snow was hard, firm and steep. An ice axe is definitely a good thing to have. If the temps are warm the snow will be soft enough to cross easily but in the early morning it was pretty firm. Flinch is definitely doable.
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Dottie Little Tent » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:31 pm

thanks everyone for the info! Please keep posting any reports or photos.
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Brad Snider » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:20 am

Thanks again to everyone for the info. We ended up having a great trip. Didn't explore quite as much of GNP as we had hoped, but the hikes we did were a blast. I'll add TRs and photos one of these weeks, but for now here's a summary of what we did:

GNP hikes:
22 July our family took the boat across Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes, then we did the hike to Lake Grinnell, and hiked back out to the Many Glacier Hotel amidst plentiful wildflowers and wildlife (including an up-close photo-shoot w/ a moose)
23 July we hiked the Swiftcurrent Trail to Swiftcurrent Pass and then bush-whacked along and below/around the Garden Wall and up to Point 8,479, then descended, with several up-close encounters with moose. Had to wade the creek at one point, had several snow fields to deal with (one steeper one at Devil's Elbow where ice axe came in handy), but nowhere near as much snow as we would encounter in the Tetons the next week. Some fun glissading on the way down from the Garden Wall and Pass. The face below Mount Grinnell had over a dozen waterfalls cascading, most of them diving hundreds of feet. The Garden Wall hike to Point 8,479 lived up to expectations and was an awesome, awesome day with unbelievable scenery.

Yellowstone:
We got to explore most of the park's main attractions, including many of the waterfalls (Rustic, Undine, Lower, Upper, Gibbon, etc.). We saw hundreds of bison in Lamar Valley, and saw grizzly, black bear, mule deer bucks and bull elk all up close. Summit-wise we didn't do a whole lot of hiking, but the entire family did hike the 4.2 mile trail up and down Bunsen Peak. The board walks around the natural springs and geysers, and especially the Grand Prismatic Spring, were a lot of fun for everyone to do.

Tetons:
29 July we did the Paintbrush Canyon / Divide / Lake Solitude / Cascade Canyon Loop. Scenery was again breath-taking, and the snow was very heavy above 9,000 feet in both canyons. Ice axe and crampons were essential. To gain the divide required a half-mile-ish long ascent along a 45-degree slope, and there were numerous short stretches crossing snow slopes in north Cascade (some of them steeper than 45 deg) before reaching Lake Solitude (which was still ice covered for the most part).
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Re: GNP evolving plans for 23-24 July

Postby Dottie Little Tent » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:53 pm

just got back on monday.

A few observations for those visiting Glacier soon:

1. still tons of snow around Logan pass, although people were climbing Mt Reynolds and also venturing into Floral Park as some hikers found remains of the hiker missing since 08.

2. I asked a local hiker about Siyeh Pass and he said it was snow covered, but not steep, just take an axe. However on approaching from Preston Park we met a young adventurous couple who were familair with the area and they started down the barring creek side but turned back mainly due to hearing water rushing underneath them. We went to the pass and looked down and decided to play it safe. You cannot see any of the switchbacks as of 7/30. It did not look steep at any point but there certainly is tons of snow.

3. People are using Swiftcurrent pass with no apparent problems.

4. nothing newsworthy conditions- wise, but my first attempt at Pollock and Peigan was foiled by incredibly strong winds as we rounded the crest of the saddle from the east side. There were 3 gusts that had, we not crouched and leaned into them, would have knocked us off our feet. I set my daypack (20ish lbs) by the ciarn and one gust sent it rolling like tumbleweed. We didnt think either summit would be too enjoyable in those conditions but the view from the saddle was astounding enough to keep us happy.

5. Peigan pass has 3 snow slopes with potential to slide into sharp rocks but by mid morning they were soft and most hikers were crossing with little or no eqipment to arrest a fall.
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