Snowfields, etc.

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Snowfields, etc.

Postby iagreewithjamie » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:46 am

Hi all,
I've been following the Glacier trail statuses. Looks like they were planning to clear HOL to BOU by today, but I haven't seen any updates.

My biggest area of concern is the snowfield between those two campsites. I'm planning to bring my ice axe and crampons, but my hiking partner thinks I might be blowing the danger out of proportion... so he's reluctant to bring either. I might bring two sets and force him to carry - I dunno.

Anyway, does anyone have intel on the snowfields? How was snow at Glacier this past winter compared to other years, and how warm has it been this year? I've read that in high-snow, lower-temp years, the fields can persist all the way into late August.

Also on that note, are crampons overkill? Will light traction suffice? I have Black Diamond 8 point crampons I was planning to take, but also have Khatoola Microspikes. Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Snowfields, etc.

Postby Ear Mountain » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:46 am

iagreewithjamie wrote:Hi all,
I've been following the Glacier trail statuses. Looks like they were planning to clear HOL to BOU by today, but I haven't seen any updates.

Trail clearing means that a trail crew will remove downed trees and other debris blocking the trail. This is usually done after snow has melted off most of the trail. As far as I know the trail crew no longer shovels tread across snowfalls or removes snow from the trail.

The section of trail above Hole in the Wall to Boulder Pass was projected to be cleared already. It appears that a trail crew or ranger on patrol did visit that area and indicated that there was still plenty of snow there on June 21. July 28 is the date shown for clearing the upper part of the Boulder Pass trail to Boulder Pass.

As of today (07/18/16) the Boulder Pass campsite is shown in Winter Status with the camp still under snow. Hole in the Wall is shown as "sensitive environmental conditions." That usually means it is melting out and won't be available for camping until it dries. Given that and the trail reports one can assume that there is still plenty of snow up there.

The snow drift above Hole in the Wall is steep and often persists into August. Trail status reports usually indicate the status of that snowfield since it effectively closes that trail section for most hikers. The drift may be passable on warm days by kicking good steps in soft snow. An ice axe and the knowledge and experience of using an ice axe for self arrest might still be essential. If the weather is cold the snow will be firm and, at the minimum, micro spikes should be used.
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Re: Snowfields, etc.

Postby joybird » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:59 pm

Ralph...

There is so much that I appreciate about your presence here on the Chat. 8)

Just sayin'.
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Re: Snowfields, etc.

Postby Sue Z » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:35 pm

Sometimes the park rangers at the backcountry desks have intel. You can ask when you pick up your permit, or perhaps call ahead?
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