Backcountry snow levels

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Backcountry snow levels

Postby lithodendron » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:15 am

Some web information indicates that northwest Montana got lower than average levels this year. We have a permit reservation to hike over Stony Indian Pass on June 29. Maybe it is still too soon to predict, but does anyone have a take on whether we need to worry about impassable snow? We would be fine with purchasing and wearing microspikes but we do not have ice axe training or experience. Thanks!
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Re: Backcountry snow levels

Postby orin » Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:30 pm

I think it will be difficult to know for sure what conditions will be like because not many people will have been through before you. The best you can do is call the backcountry office and find out what they know. Look at the trail status page and note when initial clearing is scheduled for that trail. The trail may well be passable before then but that might be the first time a trail condition report gets logged. In particular look for an installation date for the plank bridges on the trail between Mokowanis Junction and Stony Indian Pass. (I just looked https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/trailstatusreports.htm but the web page is down.) If you can't find any reports you might just have to take your chances in which case it would be good to think out what you would do if you had to turn around.
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Re: Backcountry snow levels

Postby lithodendron » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:29 pm

Thank you for the Glacier trail conditions link. I didn't know about it. There isn't anything showing about the bridges for this spring yet. I will watch it especially as we get closer to the end of the month.
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Re: Backcountry snow levels

Postby orin » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:03 pm

Looking at the link this AM I see:

Mokowanis Jct. to Stoney Indian Pass/ 4.7 mi.
Visible snow starts 1 mile beyond Mokowanis Junction and appears to be about 80% coverage. From observation made from Cosley Lake. 5/27/2019 per B-12 Atsina Plank Bridge: SCHEDULED REMOVAL: 10/2/2018 PER 650


The last part about the bridge is from last year and can be ignored.

The first part suggests there is still a lot of snow on the trail to Stoney Indian Pass but that this is an observation from miles away and not a "boots on the trail" finding. No nps folks have yet been up that trail and made a report. There can also be snow issues between the pass and the Stoney Indian Lake. That is a steep trail on a north facing slope so difficulties could linger there longer than between the Mokowanis junction and the pass. There will be a lot of melting between now and your trip but it is hard to say how much.
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Re: Backcountry snow levels

Postby lithodendron » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:08 am

Yes I saw that entry after you directed me to the link. Your added remarks are very helpful in interpreting what it says. Thank you!
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