Friday, July 6, 2012

Gunsight Lake Footbridge Will Not Be Replaced

The historic winter of 2010/2011 will certainly be one to remember. The heavy snows that blanketed Glacier National Park resulted in many avalanches that year, including one that tore into the south end of the Sperry Chalet. A massive avalanche in the Gunsight Lake area downed hundreds of trees. To this day there's still a section of trail, more than a tenth of a mile long, that remains choked with dead trees and crushed willows, effectively blocking normal passage. Presumably, that same avalanche destroyed the suspension bridge near the lake.

According to a report on the Sperry Chalet website, the Gunsight Lake footbridge will not be replaced this year. Instead, a hand cable has been installed to aid hikers in fording the stream. Kevin at the Sperry Chalet states:

If you are planning to use the Gunsight Pass trail this year, you will get wet. Plan accordingly. Be prepared to ford a stream approximately 20 feet across, about knee deep, and always cold. Be very cautions, especially if there is adverse weather or high runoff.

According to the latest Trail Status Report, clearing of downfall on the trail won't begin until August. Trail crews will be creating a route either through, or around the avalanche damaged portion of the trail. As of June 15th there was still 100% snow cover after the bridge crossing.

If wishing to go beyond Gunsight Lake, and up to Gunsight Pass, Kevin warns:

Gunsight Pass is always very dangerous in early July. The trail traverses several high angle snow fields with dangerous exposure (snow fields that run off cliffs making a simple slip and fall very perilous.) Snow melt and trail conditions always vary year by year, but we would advise anyone taking the Gunsight Pass trail before mid July to have ice axes, self arrest skills and experienced hiking partners.

For more information on the hike to Gunsight Lake, one of my favorite hikes, please click here.

Hiking in

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