Need info/help on Glacier National Park Trip Boulder Pass Tr

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Need info/help on Glacier National Park Trip Boulder Pass Tr

by pcpilot128 » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:21 pm


Noob here, hoping to for some help on trip planning. I am looking at heading out to GNP in late July (3rd-4th week). I am coming from Saint Paul, and have never been out there. I have done quite a bit of backcountry camping in the Boundary Waters, but that is with a canoe, paddling and portaging. I haven't done backcountry hiking for the quite some time, 15-20 years. I am in pretty good shape, but am training for my time out there.

Currently, I am looking at trying to do the Boulder Pass Trail, but I have been reading that part of the park is the last to open, and it might not be open. If not, I will look into the 50 Mountain trail or maybe the CDT. I am heading out there with my g/f, and we are looking at a 5-6 trip in the backcountry. Any advice would be helpful. It doesn't appear that there are too many options for shuttling in the BPT/Polebridge area, so is hitchhiking possible? I have read that heading E-W is easier, and W-E is more strenuous. It looks like the BPT is around a Class II, maybe III, is there scree or talus that you need to work through? I've never used an ice axe or crampons, would I need these? Any books that you would recommend? Thanks for any help and advice, and can't wait to see the Crown of the Continent.


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Re: Need info/help on Glacier National Park Trip Boulder Pas

by EarMountain » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:43 pm

The Boulder Pass area does indeed hold snow well into the summer. Advance reservations for the Boulder Pass and Hole-in-the-Wall backcountry campgrounds cannot be made before August first. The camps sometimes open early if snowmelt permits and if they do you can get a permit to stay there but you cannot apply for an advance reservation at those sites. Even if the Boulder Pass and Hole in the Wallcampsites are open there is a dangerous snow slope between them that might require ice axes or other snow travel equipment. Check with a ranger desk about this when you pick up your permit.

The same late reservation time of August first applies to the backcountry camp at Fifty Mountain.

The park's management plan for the North Fork area forbids commercial shuttles or buses. So transportation there is difficult. Hitchhiking is permitted. Just give yourself plenty of time, maybe an extra day. If I was hiking from some place like Goat Haunt at the south end of Waterton Lake to the foot of Kintla Lake I would plan on camping at the Kintla Lake auto campground. Then begin your hitchhiking effort the next morning. Depending on timing you might be able to at least hitchhike to Apgar and then catch a park shuttle to Saint Mary.

The earliest that the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open its entire length in 2015 is set for June 19th. This may or may not happen though as a heavy winter snowpack, late winter and spring storms or other factors often delay the opening of the road.
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