7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Are you a seasoned hiker, or just starting out? Let us know your questions or experience with the backcountry permit process.

Moderators: Kathy, Tara

7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby ahasho » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:49 pm

Hello! I'm getting ready to apply for a 5 day trip from 7/20 to 7/24 for four people. Our fitness levels are varied, so I'm trying to keep mileage low with opportunity for day hikes and chilling on short days. My current trip options are below.

Questions!
1) Is there potential problem hiking Stoney Indian Pass on 7/22? I can't book the Stoney Indian campsite for advanced reservations since it opens 8/1 - what's the process of possibly changing things if it opens?
2) Opinions about two routes being enough - thoughts on my chances? Any similar options that I'm missing? A lot of routes are limited by 8/1 opening (gunsight I think is impossible to book advanced with these dates at all?) and not wanting to deal with the western transportation hassle.
3) Should I be concerned at all with parking at CME and AFE trailheads to start the trip? Will probably arrive pretty early in the morning for each.
3) Any suggestions on more ideal trip tweaks :-)

Trip Option #1 - Chief Mountain to Goat Haunt stopping over at Janet
- Total 35-43 miles, 5K-6K ft over 5 days (depending on ferry availability)
CME trailhead > Mokowanis Lake MOL > Kootenai KOO > Lake Janet JAN > Goat Haunt > Ferry if open > Chief Mountain Connector Shuttle
Looking to get in a little bit of western reaches by camping at Lake Janet, with enough flexibility built into the tail end of the trip to allow for the hike all the way up to Waterton if the ferry isn't running.

Trip Option #2 - Red Gap Pass Ptarmigan Loop
- Total 30 miles, ~7K ft over 5 days
AFE trailhead > Poia Lake POI > Elizabeth Lake Head ELH > Rest day > Rest Day & hike to Elizabeth Lake Foot ELF > back to car at AFE trailhead
ahasho
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:47 am

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby DawsonPass62 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:43 pm

My thoughts are below:

Hello! I'm getting ready to apply for a 5 day trip from 7/20 to 7/24 for four people. Our fitness levels are varied, so I'm trying to keep mileage low with opportunity for day hikes and chilling on short days. My current trip options are below.

Questions!
1) Is there potential problem hiking Stoney Indian Pass on 7/22? I can't book the Stoney Indian campsite for advanced reservations since it opens 8/1 - what's the process of possibly changing things if it opens? Yes, depending on the snow fall and the melt out. There has been snow at or near the pass in August both times I did Stoney Indian Pass. Your chances on getting this route are fair to poor as this is a popular route.
2) Opinions about two routes being enough - thoughts on my chances? Any similar options that I'm missing? A lot of routes are limited by 8/1 opening (gunsight I think is impossible to book advanced with these dates at all?) and not wanting to deal with the western transportation hassle. Many routes are driven by the open date including Gunsight, Boulder, 50 Mountain, and the Ptarmigan tunnel. Also, any trail can close due to Grizzly or other wildlife issues. I would submit one in the Two Med/Walton area as these are less popular
3) Should I be concerned at all with parking at CME and AFE trailheads to start the trip? Will probably arrive pretty early in the morning for each. No, there is plenty at both
3) Any suggestions on more ideal trip tweaks :-) See below

Trip Option #1 - Chief Mountain to Goat Haunt stopping over at Janet
- Total 35-43 miles, 5K-6K ft over 5 days (depending on ferry availability)
CME trailhead > Mokowanis Lake MOL > Kootenai KOO > Lake Janet JAN > Goat Haunt > Ferry if open > Chief Mountain Connector Shuttle
Looking to get in a little bit of western reaches by camping at Lake Janet, with enough flexibility built into the tail end of the trip to allow for the hike all the way up to Waterton if the ferry isn't running. CME to MOL is a LONNNG Day (14 miles). I would pick Cosley or Glenns Lake for your 1st night, then MOL. MOL to KOO is also long, but doable (ignoring the snow issue), but two long days will take away from your enjoyment. If the Stoney campsite is open, you might try to get that. Also, not sure the hike up to Janet is worth it (with a backpack). Stay at the Waterton River site, and then dayhike to Janet or even better, to Lake Isabel.

Trip Option #2 - Red Gap Pass Ptarmigan Loop
- Total 30 miles, ~7K ft over 5 days
AFE trailhead > Poia Lake POI > Elizabeth Lake Head ELH > Rest day > Rest Day & hike to Elizabeth Lake Foot ELF > back to car at AFE trailhead I've only done this trip is reverse, but the POI to ELH is a long day, but doable. Also, you can't stay at ELH more than one night, so you have to move to ELF, and then stay there two nights (hopefully). Day hike to Helen is recommended, and then I would go out through the Ptarmigan Tunnel if it is open. If not, you will probably need to stay at POI again as ELF to AFE is another very long hike. If you do the tunnel, leave your car at the Swiftcurrent Lodge so your car is there when you get out. You can bum a ride down to AFE (or pay one of the workers a few bucks to drive you there) on your 1st day.
DawsonPass62
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:11 pm

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby wnysteve » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:28 am

DawsonPass62 wrote:My thoughts are below:



Also, not sure the hike up to Janet is worth it (with a backpack). Stay at the Waterton River site, and then dayhike to Janet or even better, to Lake Isabel.

.


Lake Isabel is in the Park Creek drainage area on the western side of Two Medicine pass. You may be thinking of Lake Francis.

I agree that Chief Mountain Customs to MOL is a very long day.
wnysteve
Donator
Donator
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:22 am
Location: Clarence, NY

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby PeteE » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:28 am

ahasho wrote:Hello! I'm getting ready to apply for a 5 day trip from 7/20 to 7/24 for four people. Our fitness levels are varied, so I'm trying to keep mileage low with opportunity for day hikes and chilling on short days. My current trip options are below.

Questions!
1) Is there potential problem hiking Stoney Indian Pass on 7/22? I can't book the Stoney Indian campsite for advanced reservations since it opens 8/1 - what's the process of possibly changing things if it opens?

Assuming STO opens, odds of which are slim to none, changing your itinerary would be problematic imo.

2) Opinions about two routes being enough - thoughts on my chances?
Your chances are like anyone else's chances. All depends on where you place in the lottery draw. Given that I would say your chances are poor.
Any similar options that I'm missing? A lot of routes are limited by 8/1 opening (gunsight I think is impossible to book advanced with these dates at all?) and not wanting to deal with the western transportation hassle. There are many options you're missing. Too many to list if you mean park wide.
3) Should I be concerned at all with parking at CME and AFE trailheads to start the trip? Will probably arrive pretty early in the morning for each.
Parking space will be the least of your problems
3) Any suggestions on more ideal trip tweaks :-)
maybe, it depends on you're being willing to accept an itinerary different from the two you listed below

Trip Option #1 - Chief Mountain to Goat Haunt stopping over at Janet
- Total 35-43 miles, 5K-6K ft over 5 days (depending on ferry availability)
CME trailhead > Mokowanis Lake MOL > Kootenai KOO > Lake Janet JAN > Goat Haunt > Ferry if open > Chief Mountain Connector Shuttle
Looking to get in a little bit of western reaches by camping at Lake Janet, with enough flexibility built into the tail end of the trip to allow for the hike all the way up to Waterton if the ferry isn't running.
MOL has one reservable campsite. Your chances of getting it approach zero. Why include a site like that. If you insist on that itinerary over Stoney Indian Pass, you're chances would be greatly improved by asking for MOJ. The Goat Haunt site opening is still a question as of today(Mar8) This whole itinerary is problematic imo.

Trip Option #2 - Red Gap Pass Ptarmigan Loop
- Total 30 miles, ~7K ft over 5 days
AFE trailhead > Poia Lake POI > Elizabeth Lake Head ELH > Rest day > Rest Day & hike to Elizabeth Lake Foot ELF > back to car at AFE trailhead

You say your group has varying levels of fitness. POI to ELH is 11.8 miles and not the easiest 11.8 miles at that. Is the weakest member of your group up for that? ELF back to AFE is 16.6 miles!!!!!! if I read your route right.
In at AFE
Night 1 POI 6.4 miles
Night 2 and 3 at ELH 11.8 miles
Night 4 at ELF 1.6
16.6 miles!! and out at AFE
Really?
The BC Office won't allow that.


You should spend the next week thinking about a route that's actually doable by ALL four members of your party.
I would avoid any segment that's over 10-11 miles if the fitness of any one member of your group is less that very good.
That would be especially true if it includes a long(ish) day over any high pass.
Routes over high passes during the 3rd week of July also can be problematic due to snow.
What the snow conditions at the passes(or anywhere) will be are impossible to predict on March 15th.


I don't like being "negative" but in my opinion, FWIW, you need to rethink your trip.
Have you thoroughly studied this page?
https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm
And this one too, including all the fine print?
https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/ ... ap-Web.pdf

All that said, don't let me discourage you. There are people here who know more than I who can help you 8)

pete :wink:
User avatar
PeteE
 
Posts: 2723
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:20 pm
Location: Whitefish, MT

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby PeteE » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:59 am

I gotta got to work, so I'll make a suggestion for a trip.

In at CME
Night 1 COS--8.7 miles (If you feel good,do the side trip to Bear Mt. overlook. Swim in the lake)
Night 2&3 MOJ --4.6 miles . Side trips from there to either/and/or 1) up the trail towards Stoney Indian pass, 2) the easy bushwhack to Margaret Lake
Night 4 ELF 8.3 miles
Out at CME --9.5 miles

You can try for MOL for one of the MOJ nights
And on your application make sure you note that you will accept substitutions.
That will GREATLY enhance your getting an itinerary.
If you don't like what you get, assuming you get anything, after you arrive here, you can go to the BC Office and get your itinerary modified if something more to your liking is available.


pete :wink:

PS

And yeah, I would do that itinerary myself, as I'm sure many experienced folks here on the chat would too---if they could get it. 8)
User avatar
PeteE
 
Posts: 2723
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:20 pm
Location: Whitefish, MT

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby McKee80 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:41 am

The first part of my trip last year ended up similar to your Belly River idea:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=10021

Cosley Lake is really nice, Mokowanis Lake is even better. In response to what others have said:

1. We hiked out from MOL to Chief Mountain. There isn't any significant elevation gain, but it is a lot of miles.
2. GLH, MOJ, and MOL are all reasonable distance from very cool side trips (Margaret Lake falls, Margaret Lake, Stony Indian Pass). By all means, try for MOL, but allow substitutions as mentioned above.
3. I don't know how scenic the trail from STO to GOA is, but the Belly River side is awesome. We enjoyed is just as much on the way down.
4. An out and back will eliminate any transportation issues.
5. If you kind of basecamp with side trips, you have more flexibility with various levels of hiking (some can go to Sue Lake, some can hike up to the pass, some can explore around Glenns or Mokowanis Lake, hang out at camp, etc). Similarly, if you get to ELF early, some can explore the lake up to Helen Lake.
6. In short, this is a really good area to tailoring a trip for the weakest hikers in your group because every site has cool stuff to do without packs once you get there.
7. I can't speak to permits. We got our original one in the mess when applications were being accepted last year. By the time we got there, we had our pick because so much was closed and on fire. And we went early September.
McKee80
Donator
Donator
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby paul » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:46 pm

One thing I would like to point out is even if your chances of getting a specific site are low, you should put it in there as your a first choice if that's what you want. You may get lucky. As long as you have on the permit application that says you will allow substitutions it shouldn't hurt your chances of getting a permit. If the site isn't available then it will be substituted with a camp somewhere nearby.

I think it also helps if you put in a short comment on the application that explains your goals. Something like "Would like to have a base camp to hike to Stoney Indian Pass. Prefer xxx camp but will take what I can get". I think the BC rangers will try to accommodate you if they can.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
User avatar
paul
Donator
Donator
 
Posts: 1340
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:42 pm
Location: MA

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby Sue Z » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:53 am

McKee80 wrote:3. I don't know how scenic the trail from STO to GOA is, but the Belly River side is awesome. We enjoyed is just as much on the way down.


The Stoney Indian Pass Trail from STO to the junction with the Waterton Valley Trail is not particularly pretty, IMHO. It's a steep downhill that follows the Pass Creek drainage, a cut with a jumble of big rocks. No great views that I remember. The hike from the trail junction out to Goat Haunt is pleasant, level and wooded. (The Kootenai Lake Backcountry Campground, located along the way, is great. It's right on the lake shore, and if you find yourself hiking past, I recommend taking a gander at the lake, with the Citadel Peaks rising behind it. It's beautiful. I saw moose and mergansers there.)
Sue Z
Sue Z
Donator
Donator
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 7:37 am
Location: Emmaus, PA

Re: 7/20 to 7/24 Permit Options

Postby ahasho » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:10 pm

Thank you all for so much info so quickly!

Dawsonpass62 - sorry I made a mistake typing things out here - the plan is CME > COS > MOL as you suggest :-). Assuming you mean Francis - it's def on the list for day hiking. For the 2nd trip option - hopefully the tunnel is open otherwise I probably would want to ditch this route. Thanks for the car placement idea!

PeteE - as others have mentioned, I'm of course going to go for the best sites possible (MOL), and allow for substitutions. I shall note willingness to go to MOJ instead to be sure. As I understand it, I don't need the Goat Haunt site to open. Apologies for not specifying particular fitness levels - we're all young, fit and have experience backpacking. These 'low' mileage options were downgrades from originally considering the full many glacier loop.
I'm not considering ELF back to AFE via Red Gap. The plan is the shorter tunnel option - will the office not give trips in advance that include the tunnel on these dates?
Thanks for your trip suggestion - it will cut down on stress, transportation needs, and allow for lots of day hikes / trail runs. I'm thinking of putting this as a third option to allow for this to be selected if my more ambitious options don't pan out.
ahasho
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:47 am


Return to Backcountry Permits

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron