How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail?

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jamesdak
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How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail?

Post by jamesdak »

Ok, 1st let me admit that I am totally scared of heights. Crazy thing for a retired Airborne soldier to admit but as much as I love jumping out of planes I get totally scared silly standing on the ground in high places. But I really want to hike the trail from Logan to Many Glaciers my next trip which could be in the next couple of weeks. But I need to know how long and how narrow is the trail there at the beginning when it goes out on the ledges over the road?

Just trying to figure out if it is practical for me to even consider this. Just as a point of reference even trying to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon or the likes totally freaks me out. I can probably fight the anxiety for a little bit but I'd hate to get out there and totally freeze up.

Anyway, any insight from those with experience on it would be appreciated.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by Jay w »

Julie and I started on a hike to Granite Park, and I had rubber tips on my poles. When we got to the end of the "hose section," I decided the poles were worthless and literally ran back to the car to drop them off. So I ran this section (out and back). My guess is that it's probably 6-7 feet wide at the narrowest section, and much of it is wider. There's also a cable covered with a hose to hang onto. But, if you're not comfortable with heights, this may not matter much. It is pretty "cliffy" if you look over the edge. You may have to get take a look and see if it's doable for you.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by Jen »

My husbands fear of heights differs depending on his level of anxiety/stress on any given day. The day he hiked this with our 6 month old baby strapped to his chest was an OK day for him. IMO this trail is not as narrow as others let it on to be.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by mikie »

The good thing about the Highline Trail is that the exposure is at the very beginning of the hike (Logan Pass side). So, if you need to bail, you can go hike somewhere else. The section with exposure above the road isn't that long, and it has a cable attached to the wall, which helps people with a fear of heights.

While your balance is controlled by your inner ear, some people with a fear of heights, also use their vision as part of their sense of balance. Looking over a ledge gives them anxiety because they don't feel balanced. One trick is to look at the wall instead of looking down the valley and road. This may help you.

The section of the trail from Granite Park to Swiftcurrent Valley also has a trail with exposure. Some people find the beginning difficult. If this happens, you can turn around and hike down to the GTTS road.

A majority of people with a fear of heights can get past these two section.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by Mzambo »

My husband's fear of heights is why we had not yet done the Highline Trail until this trip. He was fine. He surprised himself. I agree with Mikie that the exposure descending the Swiftcurrent Valley is much worse than the garden hose section in my opinion.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by McNeill78 »

Jay w wrote: I had rubber tips on my poles. When we got to the end of the "hose section," I decided the poles were worthless and literally ran back to the car to drop them off. Jay
Do you suggest rubber or metal tips on poles for general trail use at Glacier, I just traded mine out to metal. We are arriving Labor Day.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by Jay w »

Rubber are worthless. Go with metal. (Good choice oh wise one.)

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by llholmes1948 »

As you probably know you can get a good look at the Rimrock section of the Highline trail from the turnout on the Sun Road just west of Logan Pass (The turnout is sometimes a good place to see goats as well.) This will give you an idea of the length of the Rimrock section. That being said, I sometimes find that trails look more dangerous and intimidating when viewed at a distance. Once I am actually on the trail I often find that it is wider and less daunting than it appeared at a distance.

The Rimrock section is fairly wide and perhaps someone could post some photos from the trail itself to give you a better idea. That also being said, I am always pleased when I don't encounter many hikers coming from the opposite direction on this section.

I suggest that people try the Rimrock section, preferably not at a busy time of day. If they find that it is just too uncomfortable, they can turn back and reach the Granite Park area and the rest of the Highline by hiking up the Loop trail which, although much more strenuous, at least has not exposure.

The garden hose cable was first installed by the Park Service in 1971 (prompting a few of us at Lake McDonald to refer to the trail as the "Garden Hose Trail" instead of the "Garden Wall Trail." ) The Park Service must find it helpful or useful to visitors because it has been installed each year since then. In my first year at the Park in 1970, the cable did not exist and I recall being fairly careful when hiking that section with a full pack that summer.

For the most part i do not find hiking poles real useful on much of the Highline trail but they are certainly useful hiking downhill on the Loop or Swiftcurrent Pass trails. I agree with Jay that metal tips are the way to go.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by southernguy »

Here is a video I made in 2006 (video quality has improved a lot since then)
In the first 30 seconds you will see the garden hose section. Don't let the fact that I am walking scare you. It makes it look a little more intimidating than it really is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZ4q7by ... bxhnZm3epw

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by jellybean »

I have a follow-up question on your comments on poles. I have poles that, I believe, have metal tips, and a rubber tip over them that I purchased because it was required for hiking the Inka trail. I have never taken the rubber tips off, and I have not had a problem, although I have no basis for comparison. I figured the rubber tips are better for the trails. What is the advantage of the metal tips? Maybe I should try removing the rubber tips. (I don't use poles that often.)

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by mikie »

Poles originated with the ski industry. All ski poles have metal tips. The metal tips work exceptionally well on snow and ice. Then ski poles migrated to the hiking industry. Most people just use the metal tips when hiking. The rubber tips work well when hiking on solid rock. Metal tips on solid rock are dangerous because they can slip out very quickly. I rarely use poles while hiking in the summer months, but always use them when hiking in the snow (with snowshoes). I do use them in the summer when I am hiking in dangerous and slippery terrain, like stream beds and ravines. I would also use them for walking on glaciers. I don't use them on steep rocky terrain, like climbing to summits of mountains. I have strong ankles and knees, so I have less of a need for poles. People with weak ankles and knees find poles particularly useful. Each person has to decide this for themselves.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by Jay w »

My background is xc skiing. So we use poles with carbide tips for summer rollerskiing. The tips resemble a tooth on a saw blade and can be sharpened to be about as sharp. I've used these hiking and the traditional collapsible hiking poles (with metal tips like downhill ski poles). Frankly I don't notice much difference in use for hiking. The big thing is to not get your pole caught in a gap or hole. I generally rely on the poles quite heavily going both up and down, and it dramatically improves my speed and balance. I don't notice much slipping, but I also don't expect much grip from the occasional smooth rock. (I may even skip a pole plant.) I aim for low spots with the pole plants.

The rubber tips I used were totally worthless. Almost no grip at all on rock, dirt, tar, whatever. If anyone wants my rubber tips, they can have them. Just let me know.

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by Jen »

My Black Diamond poles have carbide tips. I rely on them heavily for downhill climbing. I am 43 and my knees are in A+ condition. Maybe because of the poles? But probably genetics. 8)

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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by paul »

I have those poles too. They are great for backpacking and for downhill hiking. Pretty essential for crossing streams/rivers too.
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Re: How far are the ledges on the Highline (HockeyRef) trail

Post by smahurin »

I just picked up some trekking poles this summer as well seeing as at the ripe old age of 28 my knees are already trashed. They've been wonderful for downhills. I honestly think the carbide tip grips tremendously on even smooth wet rock, I was amazed at how stable/grippy they are.

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