Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

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Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby jvicknmu » Sun May 14, 2017 10:43 am

I was curious to know if anyone has traversed from Helen lake, SW to the Highline trail?
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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby PeteE » Sun May 14, 2017 12:12 pm

While I'm sure there are people on the chat who have done that route...
You'll probably have better luck on information at http://www.summitpost.org

http://www.summitpost.org/ahern-peak/420179
http://www.summitpost.org/glacier-natio ... -mt/170953

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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby Heff936 » Sun May 14, 2017 1:25 pm

jvicknmu wrote:I was curious to know if anyone has traversed from Helen lake, SW to the Highline trail?


I've hiked up to the goat trails from Helen Lake to take a look at getting to the overlook and to the Highline. In my opinion it is doable but unless you are roped up and have crampons and ice axe it is risky. One of my friends told me that someone will eventually get killed trying this. It's just a steep snowfield but the runout would be fatal and when I was there it had melted away from the rock forming a bergshrund. I couldn't tell if it could be stepped over or was too wide for that. The other issue is getting up to the goat trails requires some pretty steep off trail travel which is no problem from a danger standpoint but with a full heavy pack it would be pretty tough. You may be able to find a video I posted in trip reports some years ago. It would give you a view though not too close up.

If I were going to try it, I would want to be in a group and I would use a rope, crampons and an ice axe and know how to use them. If I can find the view I'll send you a link.

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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby Heff936 » Sun May 14, 2017 2:40 pm

jvicknmu wrote:I was curious to know if anyone has traversed from Helen lake, SW to the Highline trail?


Here is the video, but I warn you it may make you sick to your stomach with all the shaking. You begin the see the snow field about 11 minutes into the video. The video starts after we found some goat trails to follow first away from the Ahern Pass then back toward it. I'm sure this year that snow field will me much larger, which might actually make things much easier.

https://youtu.be/h2WXDXWH-dA

I hope this helps. Good luck if you decide to give this a go.

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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby jvicknmu » Mon May 15, 2017 7:26 am

Thanks, Heff. The video really helped. It's good to have some visual aid. I think what I'll do is hike the route I planned from Helen's foot a day in advanced to get the lay of the land. I drew out a route on a map with the least elevation gain from Helen to Highline. If you're interested, Ill keep you updated with how it goes once I attempt it in August. Thanks again-Jeremy
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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby paul » Mon May 15, 2017 7:41 am

Heff936 wrote:
jvicknmu wrote:I was curious to know if anyone has traversed from Helen lake, SW to the Highline trail?


I've hiked up to the goat trails from Helen Lake to take a look at getting to the overlook and to the Highline. In my opinion it is doable but unless you are roped up and have crampons and ice axe it is risky. One of my friends told me that someone will eventually get killed trying this. It's just a steep snowfield but the runout would be fatal and when I was there it had melted away from the rock forming a bergshrund. I couldn't tell if it could be stepped over or was too wide for that. The other issue is getting up to the goat trails requires some pretty steep off trail travel which is no problem from a danger standpoint but with a full heavy pack it would be pretty tough. You may be able to find a video I posted in trip reports some years ago. It would give you a view though not too close up.

If I were going to try it, I would want to be in a group and I would use a rope, crampons and an ice axe and know how to use them. If I can find the view I'll send you a link.

Heff


I wish we took the extra five minutes to get closer to that snow field to check out the options there.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby Heff936 » Mon May 15, 2017 7:51 am

paul wrote:
Heff936 wrote:
jvicknmu wrote:I was curious to know if anyone has traversed from Helen lake, SW to the Highline trail?


I've hiked up to the goat trails from Helen Lake to take a look at getting to the overlook and to the Highline. In my opinion it is doable but unless you are roped up and have crampons and ice axe it is risky. One of my friends told me that someone will eventually get killed trying this. It's just a steep snowfield but the runout would be fatal and when I was there it had melted away from the rock forming a bergshrund. I couldn't tell if it could be stepped over or was too wide for that. The other issue is getting up to the goat trails requires some pretty steep off trail travel which is no problem from a danger standpoint but with a full heavy pack it would be pretty tough. You may be able to find a video I posted in trip reports some years ago. It would give you a view though not too close up.

If I were going to try it, I would want to be in a group and I would use a rope, crampons and an ice axe and know how to use them. If I can find the view I'll send you a link.

Heff


I wish we took the extra five minutes to get closer to that snow field to check out the options there.


I agree Paul. I'm not sure why we didn't take the time to do that but I'll be very curious to see what Jeremy has to say after he gives it as try.

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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby Marmotman » Mon May 15, 2017 12:02 pm

Is it my imagination or did rangers, back in the day, take HORSES over Ahern Pass?
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Re: Off Trail From Helen Lake to the Highline Trail

Postby Heff936 » Mon May 15, 2017 12:26 pm

Marmotman wrote:Is it my imagination or did rangers, back in the day, take HORSES over Ahern Pass?


You are remembering correctly. I imagine back then the snowfield was larger and a more permanent feature and may have allowed ascending on the left side near the Ptarmigan Wall rather than farther right where the runout leads to......a long fall to Helen Lake. :shock:

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