Friday, July 27, 2012

Glacier Trail Status Update

As the snow continues to melt, many of the trails in Glacier's high country are finally beginning to open up. Here's the latest from the Trail Status page on the Glacier website:

As of yesterday afternoon the Highline Trail is now open all the way to the Granite Park Chalet. However, the park makes a few important notes about hiking the trail at this time:

Safety handline cable at Rimrock: installed 7/26/2012. Hikers are encouraged to plan ahead and be prepared. Hikers may encounter rocks and mud on the trail, eroded trail tread, and a snowfield at Haystack Butte. Due to recent mud and rock slides along the Highline Trail, both west and east-side park trail crews have been working to allow for public access on the trail from Logan Pass to Haystack Butte. On July 17 a rain event triggered numerous mud and rock slides in the area and deposited lots of rock and mud debris on the trail. Much of the tread, flat surfaces or step-like features built by trail crew, were washed out. In several areas of the trail, bedrock is exposed and hikers are encouraged to use caution. Often the bedrock is angled downhill, wet, and potentially slick. The use of hiking poles is encouraged in this area. Visitors planning to hike on trails in the higher elevations of the park are encouraged to have appropriate footwear for snow travel, specifically lug-sole boots, and self-arrest tools such as ice axe and crampons, as well as the knowledge and skills to utilize the tools. It is recommended to have layers of clothing available, including a rain jacket, for changing weather conditions throughout the park. All hikers are encouraged to turn around if conditions exceed what is comfortable or beyond personal experience and limitations.

Iceberg Lake: Initial clearing is complete. As of 7/23 "the trail is 5% snow covered last 1/2 mile to the lake." You should also note that the trail is POSTED for bear frequenting the area.

Ptarmigan Tunnel is now open for stock and foot traffic.

Swiftcurrent Pass (above Bullhead Lake): As of 7/20, "Two small snow patches remain in last mile to the pass."

Grinnell Glacier Trail: As of 7/20 "the trail is snow free for the first 2 miles, then hazardous snow crossings are encountered, travel beyond is not recommended."

Gunsight Pass: "Winter status. Clearing of downfall will begin in August 2012". As of 7/25 the trail is free of downed trees and snow all the way to the campground / Gunsight Lake.

Piegan Pass from Preston Park Junction is "clear except for 1 low angle snow field covering about 50 ft of trail."

Siyeh Pass from Preston Park Junction: As of 7/12, "Trail has 1 large tree down and has large patches of snow in the lower areas, tapering off to dry trail as you ascend the switchbacks."

Dawson Pass: As of 7/21 "One small patch of snow remains on trail before pass. Can be easily traversed by going across or around."

Pitamakin Pass: As of 7/21 "Cleared of downfall." There's no mention of snow in this latest report. About a week ago the report indicated that the pass wouldn't be opened until August. You may want to ask a ranger for clarification on this before attempting to hike all the way to the pass.

Glacier National Park Hiking

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