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Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby Dave B » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:20 pm

Montana Grizzly Bear Notice:

In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear
conflicts, the Montana Department of Fish and Game
is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra
precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field.
We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on
their clothing so as not to startle the bears that aren't
expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry
pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a
bear.

It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear
activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference
between black bear and grizzly bear poop. Black bear poop
is smaller and contains a lot of berry seeds and squirrel fur.
Grizzly bear poop has little bells in it and smells like pepper
spray.


Seriously though, my first hike on my first trip to Glacier put me within 20' of a momma Griz with her cubs off to the left in a tree. We were obviously downwind as she didn't hear/smell us approach, nor did we see her due to a bend in the trail. However, upon turning that bend in the trail and seeing her, both my buddy and I froze, then took a step backwards. In doing so, one of us accidentally kicked a rock which got her attention. She snapped her head in our direction and then, in what seemed like an eternity (but what was really only .5 seconds), ran into the woods.

We both needed a clean pair of underwear after that, but it also served to take a bit of the edge off. We saw three other bears that day on the hike to Grinnell Glacier, all were a ways a way and presented no real danger. One of them was with two cubs. We mostly made a point of being as loud as possible to prevent another such encounter.

So, yeah, I agree with this.

kman wrote:it's OK to be a little nervous, but don't let it ruin your trip. I see so many people/families on the trails in that Park scared to death that a bear is going to approach them standing up on it's hind legs and rip their heads off like some Hollywood movie. Crazy! Just be vigilant.
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby Papillon » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:14 pm

Whistle > bear bells

I did not carry spray in '08 but chose to this time around, mainly to put helmut at ease. A guy we ran into on Reynolds said he was doing a ski tour a few weeks prior on Logan Pass in complete fog and got hit with a huge whiff of wet dog. He said he cleared out of there ASAP. F---.

I am jealous about your upcoming trip, even though I was just there a month ago. I wish I could go back in early September. I could, but "the project" requires me to stay in Colorado. :oops:
The look in his eyes when it hit - Kid, it was tasty... - William Seward Burroughs

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby mountaingoat-G » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:41 pm

My trip won't be quite as adventurous as your prior one (not even close) since I am actually taking my mom with me :)

It will be somewhere between adventure and "tourist".
Things we have planned:
kayaking in St Mary Lake
kayaking in Yellowstone Lake (on the way home)
biking going-to-the-sun
Hiking (obviously)
Mountain biking in Waterton, Alberta (it's legal there)
Climbing at least one peak (without mom :lol: )

It's going to be a long long drive, but I can't wait.

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby kman » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:09 pm

Papillon wrote:Thanks, kman.

But I gotta come clean - only helmut swam in Iceberg. He also "checked off" Cracker and one of the lakes in the swiftcurrent valley. I went knee deep and figured that was good enough.

So helmut "took one for the team" by swimming in Iceberg Lake! That's awesome! Below is my picture from this year's swim. You, and anyone else reading this thread that's heading to Glacier this year or in the future should definitely consider the plunge. It only hurts for a little while, I swear :shock: #-o :shock:
Your Peaks list for next year looks good. Mt. Gould is definitely a must do. Bearhat and Dragon's Tail are on my list for next year. When climbing Siyeh, consider the "skyline experience" found on page 172 in the Gordon Edwards book. You knock off Mt. Wynn and Cracker Peak along the way on this long ridge-route. You would have to stage a car at Siyeh Bend on the Sun Road in order to get back to your starting point in Many Glacier, or take the shuttle. It's all worth it for that climb. Also, consider joining the Glacier Mountaineering Society. It's 25 bucks for a year, and they have a big climbing week every July. They put out a list of scheduled climbs prior to July, and you can sign up for some really good ones.
IMG_3806.JPG
IMG_3806.JPG (142.47 KiB) Viewed 401 times


mountaingoat-G wrote:My trip won't be quite as adventurous as your prior one (not even close) since I am actually taking my mom with me :)

It will be somewhere between adventure and "tourist".
Things we have planned:
kayaking in St Mary Lake
kayaking in Yellowstone Lake (on the way home)
biking going-to-the-sun
Hiking (obviously)
Mountain biking in Waterton, Alberta (it's legal there)
Climbing at least one peak (without mom :lol: )

You're going to have a blast, trust me. Biking the Sun Road is good way to experience the Park. Just watch out for all the distracted car drivers who are also taking in the views! You're going to love Waterton...cool little town.

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby mountaingoat-G » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:42 pm

kman wrote:You're going to have a blast, trust me. Biking the Sun Road is good way to experience the Park. Just watch out for all the distracted car drivers who are also taking in the views! You're going to love Waterton...cool little town.


Thanks.

As far as the plunge in the lake, no thanks.. :bow: brrrr

I have biked Trail Ridge Road in RMNP a few times and Mt Evans many times and am expecting it it be similar to that, as far as drivers go.
We are doing the packing tonight but have to go to work tomorrow, then start the long long drive...

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby mountaingoat-G » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:30 am

Just a follow-up to say thanks for the trip advice about Glacier.

Like I said, we took my mom with us, so the adventure factor was fairly low. The drive was long and brutal. We did not climb a "proper" mountain, but did do some fun stuff:

These guys had special telescopes set up at the visitor's center where you could look directly at the sun and see the arcs coming off them in real time (well, 8 minutes delayed of course). Very cool. There was also an astronomy program that night.

We kayaked in St Mary Lake several times, made it to both Wild Goose Island and another un-named island further west. I jumped into the lake and it was cold, but not as cold as I expected.

We hiked to Avalanche lake and jumped in (colder than St. Mary) Parking was insane for this hike so we had to park about a mile down the road.

Hiked to Hidden Lake Overlook at sunset, awesome views.

Road biked Going-to-Sun road from the east and dropped down the west side about 4 miles ? Rode back up and met the wife and went back down the west side with here about 2 miles and road back up to Logan Pass.

Drove to Two Medicine and crossed a creek and hiked along the lake for about a mile (seemed like perfect Grizzly territory)

Drove to Waterton for a day and attempted to Mountain-bike the legal trail there (but it was closed :( )
Instead we hiked south along Waterton Lake and made it to Bertha Falls. On the way back to USA, stopped and did a short MT bike ride on the other legal trail, but was seriously freaked about Grizzlies (the vegetation cover was perfect for them and the berries were out, so they said chances of an encounter were greater, also more likely to encounter them mountain-biking than hiking).

We hiked 19 miles in one day, starting from Many Glacier went up over Swiftcurrent Pass and made side-trip to summit of Swiftcurrent Mountain (saw moose in a lake below with binoculars) and then visited Granite Chalet (as a geologist, I saw only limestone around there and no granite) and hiked to Logan Pass via the awesome Highline Trail. Started our hike at about 8:00 AM and reached Logan Pass at about 6:00 PM, took free shuttle buss back to campground.

On return trip, we spent a night in Yellowstone and kayaked out to Stevinson Island (about 8.5 miles round trip per GPS). Total driving on the trip, including side trips was a bit under 2,500 miles
:dead

There was haze from many fires in the northwest that did cut the clarity of the views, but they were still great. This was a LOT of driving, and not something I will do again anytime soon. I wish I could go back and climb some of these peaks besides Swiftcurrent (although Swiftcurrent was great). We drove to West Glacier and along Flathead lake on the way home in order to avoid some roadwork, but this probably added hundreds (?) of miles to our trip.

We did see one Grizzly, but it was from the car on our way to Many Glacier. It was eating bushes along the road. Saw a few Black Bears also from car near Two Medicine. saw the moose from summit of Swiftcurrent via binoculars, maybe saw a few deer in various places, saw a fox in the campground, otherwise no wildlife.

They are doing a LOT of road work on "the sun road" and there are several long delays.

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby kman » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:01 pm

mountaingoat-G wrote:Just a follow-up to say thanks for the trip advice about Glacier.

Hey! Thanks for following up on youir trip. Was wondering how it went. Yeah, the drive is brutal. When I head to Glacier, I always stay in the Tetons for a week or so just to break up the long drive. Glad you made it up Swiftcurrent - one of the best trails in the Park IMO. Always nice to see some bears- from a distance!

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby mountaingoat-G » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:58 pm

Oh, if I had another week, we would have definitely stayed at Grand Teton. Yellowstone was ok, but not great. It was my second time there (Yellowstone)..

We drove out of Yellowstone via Cody instead of going through the Tetons to save time.
A funny part about this trip is I still have not seen our pictures as I took them all on a loaner camera and forgot to get the pics before giving the camera back.. ](*,)

I don't know when I will be able to see them..
Thanks for your interest!

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby Papillon » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:33 pm

Sounds like a solid time in Glacier, mountaingoat-G. Congrats.

I took a half day and spent a night in the Bighorns to break up the drive. I then had a hotel reservation at Swiftcurrent and we got there around 6 PM. The next morning I snagged a site at Many Glacier. We drove home in one 15 hour push.

When I go back, I'll probably stay at Rising Sun because I have some peaks in mind around Logan Pass. I can reserve at Rising Sun so I'll skip the hotel. It was pricey anyways ($130).

Rising Sun is closed due to a problematic bear right now. This bear was bothering people while we were there over the 4th of July. I wonder what they do with the people in a 100+ site campground when they close it?
The look in his eyes when it hit - Kid, it was tasty... - William Seward Burroughs

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Re: Tell Me 'Bout Glacier!

Postby mountaingoat-G » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:14 pm

Papillon wrote:Sounds like a solid time in Glacier, mountaingoat-G. Congrats.

I took a half day and spent a night in the Bighorns to break up the drive. I then had a hotel reservation at Swiftcurrent and we got there around 6 PM. The next morning I snagged a site at Many Glacier. We drove home in one 15 hour push.

When I go back, I'll probably stay at Rising Sun because I have some peaks in mind around Logan Pass. I can reserve at Rising Sun so I'll skip the hotel. It was pricey anyways ($130).

Rising Sun is closed due to a problematic bear right now. This bear was bothering people while we were there over the 4th of July. I wonder what they do with the people in a 100+ site campground when they close it?


The camp host for Rising Sun talked to us for a while when we walked through there. I did not think you could make reservations for that one? We had a small hard-sided trailer so we could have stayed there (Rising Sun). We were at St Mary's Campground and we might have been able to move to Rising sun since it was no where near full since it was still closed to tents due to bear activity when we were there. I wonder if we should have transferred, but I didn't feel like moving the trailer (was lazy).

I love having a small hard sided trailer, although it does affect the gas mileage and limits the roads you can go on. Rising Sun would have been perfect for us since our trailer is very small and you can't fit the huge RVs in there. Also, we don't use a generator, but instead have a solar panel. Rising Sun would have been super convenient for boating on St Mary Lake, as well.

A 15 hour drive sounds pretty tough. Towing a trailer makes you drive slower and it seems like it took us way longer than that if we total up the time we spent driving.

Our drive was as follows: leave work on a Thursday, drive till maybe 11:00 PM to Glenrock Wyoming, Drive all day Friday, stop at Little Bighorn Battlefield for about an hour, dinner in Great Falls, spend night in Choteau. Saturday morning, drive to St Mary, get set up, check out Visitor Center, relax, go out on Lake, drive up to Logan Pass in evening...

Coming home, we left Thursday evening, drove to West Glacier (didn't see much), dinner in Kalispell, pulled over along side of the road between Flathead Lake and Missoula. Saturday, drive through SW Montana and camp outside of Yellowstone in a FS campground called Pine Creek. Did an evening hike to a waterfall and jumped into that (very cold) creek. Sunday, drive into Yellowstone through Gardiner, people's driving IQ drops by 50 points miraculously as they enter Yellowstone. Get set up in Bridge Bay Camp, get kayak permit, kayak out to island that evening. Monday get up early and leave Yellowstone, return home via Cody and Thermopolis. We planned on checking out the free hotsprings there, but it was 90 degrees and we skipped it. Long drove home, lots of road work in Wyoming. Wish I had my own plane. 8)


If I ever go back, I think I would try to camp at Two Medicine and still take the kayak but leave the bikes at home. I really liked that area. I liked everything I saw, but didn't really get to see the lower part of the west side. When we drove through the west side, I could tell it was the more touristy side: tacky shops, mini-golf, and helicopter tours (when hiking, the sightseeing helicopters were obnoxious, as they came near Logan Pass every half-hour or so). Avalanche lake was as far west we got within the park on the Sun Road and we drove through West Glacier in the evening, staying on the main highway, so that was the limit of our experience with the west side.

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