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Current Conditions for 2014
September 15, 2014
I was hoping that 2014 would be the first year in a long time without a 'hiking' fatality.
Sad to say that hasn't happened. Although from initial reports from Glacier National Park this fatality doesn't qualify as hiking but rather base jumping.
Body of Missoula man recovered from below Mount Siyeh.
September 14, 2014
Going To The Sun Road closes on the east side of Glacier National Park on September 22, 2014. This year Two Medicine & Many Glacier Campgrounds will remain open (weather dependent) until October 31, 2014. Primitive camping, no water or flush toilets, from September 22, 2014. With the hard freeze a few days ago that date may be accelerated.
September 13, 2014
Cutbank Campground closed due to bear frequenting. Cutbank Campground was the last place that I camped in Glacier Park.
Going To The Sun Road is now open to through traffic. This is your chance to see new snow at Logan Pass.
Thanks to Osprey Backpacks I've hiked 224 miles this summer and gained 26,685 feet in elevation. At some point I need to calculate my elevation loss as it is most likely much greater since I plan my hikes to minimize elevation gains and maximize elevation loss. The number of miles is for hiking not biking. I will calculate that sometime later this fall. Strangely enough the best thing to happen to me this summer was to get soaked in a thunderstorm coming down from Apgar Lookout. My daypack got soaked along with my macro lens. Went out the next day and bought a Osprey Stratos 24 with a built in rain cover. It was a truly life changing event for me.
September 12, 2014
Going To The Sun Road is now closed at Big Bend on the west side of the park. Still closed at Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. In nine days the east side will be closed at Rising Sun.
Low temp last night in Northwest Montana at lower elevations was 23 F. Figure 19 F for higher backcountry campsites.
September 10, 2014
Going To The Sun Road is now closed at Avalanche on the west side of the park. Still closed at Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side.
Two Medicine webcam showing that the snow is now sticking to the pavement. It has been a very short summer this year in Northwest Montana.
Snow this morning showing up on Glacier National Park's web cams. Two Medicine camera which is located near the Two Medicine Campground shows snow on the ground and coating the trees. Apgar Lookout which is one thousand feet higher also shows snow. The GTSR remains closed at Big Bend on the west and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east. Doesn't look like I'll be making a multi-day backpacking trip on the Gunsight Pass Trail this year. Will try and get back to CutBank Campground and Triple Divide Pass before access road closes for the season.
September 9, 2014
This from Glacier National Park as of 9-9-14 as of 3 pm Tuesday. "The Going-to-the-Sun Road is temporarily closed from Big Bend on the west side to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side due to hazardous driving conditions, winter weather conditions. Visitors can drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road approximately 28 miles from the West Entrance to Big Bend and 13.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side of the park. The higher elevations of Glacier National Park have winter weather conditions, including wind, snow, ice, and limited visibility. Winter weather conditions are anticipated to continue through Wednesday at the higher elevations. The Going-to-the-Sun Road will remain closed between Big Bend and Jackson Glacier Overlook until conditions improve. "
While summer isn't officially over for another 12 days it is currently snowing at lower elevations at the St Mary entrance to Glacier National Park. St Mary is at 4,484 feet elevation.
I had hoped last week to get a test backpacking trip in before winter starts in Northwest Montana but a quick arriving and luckily quick departing stomach bug delayed that trip. The early arrival of winter weather my end up curtailing my trail runs as the backpacking tent I'm borrowing, the original Hubba is not suitable for cold weather backpacking. Looking to get Tarptent's Scarp1 sometime in the next few months. If so will give it a test run at the winter site for Apgar Campground, which is located in the summer picnic area. I have a Sierra Design 4 season tent as a backup. Don't think I will need it based on multiple reviews on the Scarp1 but while car camping in the winter having a second tent as a backup is always prudent.
Revenue from Google Ads will be paying for my backcountry camping gear. I plan to start backcountry camping starting late next spring, something I haven't done for the past 40 some years. The change in equipment is tremendous. I prefer to buy good long lasting gear. My goose down front country sleeping bag and down parka were purchased September of 1971.
2014 has been my best hiking summer ever! This is mainly due to getting caught in a thunderstorm without a backpack rain cover. The next day I went to Sportsman in Kalispell and bought an Osprey Stratos 24 daypack. This Osprey daypack has been a LIFE changing purchase for me.
I have hiked over 200 miles this summer, will add it up later today and update this information.
Cover shot of my Wildflower Guide for Glacier National Park.
On my latest hike to Dawson Pass was able to get some new, for me, wildflower pics as I worked my way up to the pass. This is one of the better wildflower trails in the park. Note: You need to have iBooks app installed on your computer for this link to go to the correct page. (iPad or Mavericks) Your iPad will need iBooks 3 or later, your MAC will need OS X.9 or later and iBooks 1.0 or later.
Current Version 1.3 Available as of September 3, 2014
Available on iBooks
August 23, 2014
Winter Weather Advisory for Logan Pass and other higher elevations in Glacier National Park. Possibility of up to two inches of snow at 6,500 feet more at higher elevations such as Dawson / Pitamakan Pass Trail were the high point is 8,080 feet on the traverse.
August 22, 2014
Flood Watch issued for NW Montana with up to two inches of rain forecast. You DO NOT want to be hiking when this is the forecast!
August 19, 2014
Hiked Pitamakan / Dawson Pass Loop. Weather forecast predicted clear weather with a storm due in on the 20th. Well the storm didn't listen to the weather forecast and it started to roll in before I was back to the campground. Luckily for me it didn't start to rain / light up the sky until I was starting the last section of the loop trail ~ North Shore Trail. The rest of the storm rolled in during the early morning hours of the 20th with high winds and rain. Will post more on this my longest hike in the past 55 years sometime on Thursday. (I'm more then a decade older then 55)
Photos from Dawson /Pitamakan added to my Google Plus page
August 15, 2014
Photo above of Florence Falls NOTE: Trail totally overgrown with hidden gotchas sticking into trail. Not for the faint of heart or inexperienced hikers or young children who could easily become lost. This link will take you to a photo of the overgrown trail.
Just back from hiking / camping in Glacier National Park. Florence Falls, Siyeh Bend ~ Piegan Pass to Many Glacier, Grinnell Glacier, St Mary Falls (by way of Glacier Boat) and yesterday Cracker Lake. Most consecutive days of hiking since the early 1970's, for me, thanks to new Osprey Daypack. Cracker Lake back to its deep sea blue color. Finally got to the abandoned mine equipment.
August 1, 2014
Hiked to Dawson Pass on August 1, 2014. Blue sky, and on the hot side once above the tree line. Lots, and lots of wildflowers blooming alongside the trail. Unlike the Mount Brown Trail there are views back to Two Medicine after a short distance on the Dawson Pass Trail. There are also numerous creek crossings if you need to filter water. No water of any kind after passing the turnoff for No Name Lake. This is a hot trail, bring plenty of water and electrolyte. Oh, how could I forget very buggy until you make it to the pass were the wind keeps the bugs away.
July 26, 2014
NPS Press Release
Date: July 26, 2014 Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888 5838 A hiker deployed bear spray and then discharged a hand gun on a bear Saturday morning in Glacier National Park, while another incident required an emergency rescue of an injured hiker. At approximately 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 26, park dispatch received notification from a park volunteer backcountry ranger of a hiker-bear incident on the Mt. Brown Lookout Trail, on the west side of the park. Initial investigation indicates that a 57-year old hiker from Texas was hiking alone on the Mt. Brown Lookout Trail when a bear charged him from an area below the trail. The hiker deployed his canister of bear spray and then discharged one round of his handgun. It is believed the bear was wounded, and ran away. The hiker then turned around and quickly hiked back to the trailhead, warning other hikers on the trail of the incident. The hiker met a park volunteer backcountry ranger on the trail, and the ranger notified park dispatch of the situation. The hiker received no physical injuries. Park rangers immediately closed the trail and initiated an investigation. They staffed the trailhead to communicate the situation to other park visitors and began a search for the bear. Park rangers and bear specialists hiked from the trailhead, and were transported via helicopter to the summit of Mt. Brown, to investigate and search for the bear. It is unknown if the bear was a grizzly or black bear, but evidence indicates the bear was wounded. The investigation and search for the bear will continue, and the trail will remain closed until further notice. At approximately 2:15 p.m. Saturday, July 26, park dispatch received notification that a hiker in the Lunch Creek Drainage, off of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, needed emergency assistance. The 54-year old woman hiker from Kalispell fell, tumbled a short distance, dislocated her knee and was unable to hike out. Her hiking companion hiked to the Going-to-the-Sun Road to get help. Two rangers hiked in to search for the hiker, and found her in a steep and rugged area, off trail. The hikers were hiking off trail when the incident occurred. Three rangers were flown to the area via helicopter to provide medical assistance and help evacuate the hiker. Due to the terrain and the injury, rangers determined she would need to be hoisted out of the area. Members of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office aboard the Two Bear Air Helicopter responded to the scene and hoisted the hiker to the helicopter, and then transported her to the West Glacier area where the Three Rivers Ambulance was waiting. The ambulance transported the injured hiker to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Hikers in Glacier National Park are encouraged to hike in groups, stay on designated trails, carry bear spray that is easily accessible, and make noise at regular intervals along the trail. The park is home to grizzly and black bears. Bears spend a lot of time eating, so hikers should be extra alert while in or near feeding areas such as berry patches, cow parsnip thickets, or fields of glacier lilies. Hiking early in the morning, late in the day, or after dark is not encouraged. Trail running is not recommended as it has led to surprise bear encounters
July 22, 2014
From GNP Press Release dated today"Glacier National Park Rangers euthanized a black bear from the Two Medicine area on Friday, July 18, after several reports in which the bear exhibited apparent food-conditioned behavior, including an incident in which the bear charged a picnicking family."
July 17, 2014
Highline Trail now open with cautions!
The Ptarmigan Tunnel is open with restrictions No Stock to tunnel.
July 15, 2014
Women drowns in McDonald Creek
While bears are something you need to be aware of and be careful of while in the park, drowning remains the #1 cause of accidental deaths in Glacier Park. It has been over ten years since a bear fatality while nearly every year someone drowns. At this time of year with rapid snow melt the water is near freezing and very fast moving. My son once fell overboard from a canoe and wasn't wearing a life-jacket, he was luckily rescued by some rafters. He admits if the rafters weren't there he wouldn't have made it to shore as his muscles all seized up due to the cold water.
Be safe while you enjoy the park.
July 13, 2014
Glacier National Park: Woman swept over falls after slipping into McDonald Creek
July 12, 2014
Just back from hiking to Granite Park Chalet and the Garden Wall. Between The Loop and the Chalet there is no snow on the trail. At the plateau that the Chalet is built on there is no snow. There is a muddy spot below the chalet that gets deeper as the day gets warmer. Check the depth with your pole before stepping into the mud.. (from muddy experience) The lower meadow where the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail (which does have snow) & the Highline Trail meet is filled with Glacier Lily and Spring Beauty blooms. The trail up from The Loop also has lots of wildflowers along the trail. Will post more about trip Sunday morning. Upper Grinnell Lake is frozen.
July 9, 2014
Finally got to Logan Pass yesterday as well as Baring , St Mary and Virginia Falls.
There are already bare meadows with Glacier Lilies blooming at the pass.
Road construction on east side with the road base being gravel from just below Siyeh Ben to Rising Sun ! ! ! Expect DELAYS.
As mentioned in an earlier post the St Mary parking lot was moved to were the Shuttle Stop was located last year and the Shuttle Stop ~ greatly expanded is not at the former St Mary parking area.
Park Rangers were ticketing cars parked alongside of road!
I missed the early express shuttle by 30 seconds which ended up being lucky for me! This year the first SEVEN shuttles are express shuttles in one form or another.
NEW this year the first two are express to Logan Pass ( I believe that they will let you off at The Loop if you ask but check with the driver first) the MAJOR change is the Shuttle stops at Logan Pass and then goes on to St Mary! ! The third shuttle is listed as Express to Logan Pass.
Fourth~ sixth shuttle first stop is Avalanche.
If you are hiking to St Mary Falls the signage on the return has NOT been updated!
Left arrow is now pointing to the Shuttle Stop
Right arrow is still pointing to Sun Point (which is CLOSED)
should also point to St Mary Falls parking. Photo of trail sign is on my Google Plus page.
July 3, 2014
July 2, 2014
From GNP Facebook Page
"Vehicle access to Logan Pass via the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be available later this evening! And, we are just as excited as you!
Please use caution in the higher elevations as you will encounter winter-like conditions. Drive safely and enjoy Glacier National Park. "
A lot of people have trouble with winter in July and arrive at Logan Pass in flip flops and shorts.
The link below is to the Hidden Lake Trail which at this time GNP is suggesting that you don't try the moraine crossing. which can be tricky with a lot of snow.
The Missoulian is reporting that West Glacier town site 'may' have been sold to GPI.
June 30, 2014
GTSR to open this weekend.
"The entire Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is anticipated to be open to vehicle travel by this weekend, allowing access to Logan Pass. While most snow removal efforts are being completed and snow above the road is being monitored and removed, road crews continue to sweep debris from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, install removable guard rails and road signage, and prepare the Logan Pass Visitor Center and area for opening."
NPS Press Release
Photo below was from 2010 but this is what it will look like with more snow on the ground.
The news was that on the last day of June 2014 it is not raining or snowing in Glacier National Park. I'm trying to determine if the new parking area is finished for St Mary Falls, the plan was to convert the Shuttle Stop / stock ramp to a parking area. If anyone has been there THIS spring please let me know. While I have been to the east side four time this spring the road was closed at Rising Sun.
June 29, 2014
On Monday Glacier National Park Going-to-the-Sun-Road will set a record of being tied for second latest opening of the road with 1964. That year is referred to locally as the great flood. 2011 still holds the record which I'm 99% sure it will keep of being the latest opening date of July 13, 2011. Last reports have the plows from both sides working on the Big Drift which was the ONLY spot of the road that plowing wasn't finished before this last gasp of winter on the last day of spring. I've been here for a quarter century and this past winter was the toughest of them all by a large margin. I am aware that the 1970's had weather that made this past winter look like a spring picnic. GNP plow crews deserve a tremendous amount of respect for plowing the GTSR twice in one season.
June 28, 2014
Weather is wet this weekend in Glacier National Park except on the east sides St. Mary. Monday's forecast is for mostly sunny weather. Reports in that Loop A in St Mary Campground will be closed for two weeks due to damage from recent flooding. This past winter, for the first time, I was lucky enough to see the local elk herd settling down for the night in the meadow just beyond the Going-To-The-Sun-Road. July will be here soon with it's normally drier weather. Glacier Boat Tours might be a good choice today as all their boats have dry seats available. There are photos of the two boat docks on Swiftcurrent Lake on this page. Note: The Many Glacier ride involves two boats and two lakes so for that short hike between lakes you would need rain gear. Still no official word on opening date for the GTSR. The current ranger led schedule was recently posted.
June 27, 2014
Glacier National Park Plow Report "West Lakes Road Crew On Thursday, June 26, the West Lakes Road Crew plowed near the Big Drift and continued clearing the Logan Pass Visitor Center parking lot. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Thursday, June 26 the Hudson Bay Road Crew plowed near the Big Drift. Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Friday, June 27, the West Lakes Road Crew will continue plowing near the Big Drift area and begin clean-up of rock, mud, and wood debris on the road. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Friday, June 27, the Hudson Bay Road Crew will continue plowing near the Big Drift area and begin clean-up of rock, mud, and wood debris on the road. They will also start installation of road signage. " So the NPS Plow Crews are once again plowing Logan Pass parking lot which they had plowed on June 12, 2014. So for the math challenged like me that means they are back to were they were 15 days ago. While 2011 had more snow 2014 has more frustration for everyone!
June 26, 2014
Glacier National Park has raised the bar on biker restrictions on the west side. "West side hiker/biker restrictions: Hiker/biker restrictions will be at Bird Woman while the road crew is working.". The park plow map still shows the plows at Big Bend on the west and below the east side tunnel on the east side of the GTSR. It is currently raining on the west side of the park with warm sunny weather forecast for this weekend. I took a photo at Bird Women Falls Overlook a MONTH ago after biking up from Avalanche. The recent winter storm undid most of the spring plowing.
June 25, 2014
I have posted a photo of Jackson ~ Blackfoot from Gunsight Trail taken in August of 2012 on my Google Plus Page This trail is open on the east side to Gunsight Lake.
June 23, 2014
Four Star Update from GNP Press Release "Limited shuttle service on the west side of the park is anticipated to begin Thursday, June 26 in an effort to allow for increased visitor access of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Shuttle service will be available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week beginning June 26. Shuttles will depart from the Apgar Visitor Center and travel directly to the Loop, with service available approximately every 20 minutes. No additional stops will be available between the Apgar Visitor Center and the Loop. Visitors must board shuttles at the Apgar Visitor Center if they wish to travel to the Loop by shuttle. No shuttle service will be available on the east side of the park at this time. Additional west-side shuttle stops may be available beginning July 1. Full shuttle service is not anticipated to begin until access to Logan Pass is available."
June 22, 2014
Apgar Lookout Trail closed due to flooding. GTSR open to Gunsight on the east side of Glacier National Park.
June 21, 2014
Hiked to Lincoln Creek and the Boundary Ranger Station. Lots of wildflowers, lots of rafters on muddy, high, fast moving water on the Middle Fork. Trail base in good condition. Brush clearing on the side of the trail after the half way point hasn't been done in several years.
Last night I had a very unpleasant night camping at Apgar. Wonders what a drunk with a mike, amp & electric guitar can do to a peaceful night. I'm giving up on camping on the west side of GNP until summer season is over. I've never had a problem with noise at Many Glacier Campground. Two weeks ago it was drunks at Sprague Campground
June 19, 2014
Well I had already decided IF The-Going-To-The-Sun-Road were to open on Friday that I would wait three or four days before going up.
The East will open to Rising Sun to start and then at some point, as I had guessed earlier to Gunsight.
West Side closure stays at Avalanche. Which keeps cars out of the avalanche zones. As much as I'd like to bike up to the Pass this year I will pass on that. I did make it to the Weeping Wall about three weeks ago.
What follows is from todays Press Release from GNP.
"Date: June 19, 2014 Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888 5838 The recent rain and snow has impacted some park operations at Glacier National Park. Safety of park personnel and park visitors is priority. Through Friday, avalanche danger is considered high along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, specifically at the higher elevations above Haystack Creek on the west and Siyeh Bend on the east due to recent heavy snowfall and warming temperatures. Several snow slides, with some debris, were observed near Haystack and the Alps areas of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the west side. These slides initiated at a high elevation and continued to the road and across the road. Due to the hazards of wide-spread slides, access for park personnel and park visitors is limited through Friday at The Loop along the west side of the road. Hiker-biker access will be to The Loop on Friday. Beginning Saturday, it is anticipated that hiker-biker access will be unlimited from Avalanche, although visitors are encouraged to use caution and travel will not be recommended past The Loop. The hazards of falling rock, snow and debris on the road and possible snow slides may be encountered. On Friday, the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open to vehicle access to Rising Sun. It is anticipated that vehicle access will be available to Jackson Glacier Overlook by mid-day Sunday. There is no hiker-biker access on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road surface will be rough, a gravel surface, from Rising Sun to Jackson Glacier Overlook. The St. Mary Campground remains closed due to flooding and water damage. Some areas of the campground may be available this weekend. Access to the Kintla Lake area is closed at the head of Big Prairie, seven miles north of the Polebridge entrance in the North Fork District of the park. There is some flooding and areas of concern at Goat Haunt, near the United States-Canadian Border. The dock facilities have sustained some damage. The tour boat operation has been temporarily suspended, and the area is being closely monitored for any additional flood damage. Park personnel continue to monitor other areas of the park as well, including the Many Glacier and St. Mary areas. The need for any evacuations has greatly lessened, but will be closely monitored as temperatures rise. Park personnel located at Sperry Chalet to conduct seasonal opening activities this week have reported more than 20 inches of new snow at the chalet. Sperry Chalet is located on the west side of the park, near the Continental Divide. Plowing work on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is anticipated to resume on Sunday. Crews will assess the situation along the higher areas of the road, and have several areas to plow through again. Most of the equipment was moved to lower elevations on Tuesday as snow began to fall and additional snow was predicted. Some guard rail was destroyed with the recent snow slides along the road, and additional damage is anticipated to be located as crews are able to access the higher locations. It is unknown when additional vehicle access will be available on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.""
Glacier National Park web site updated their Park Alert this morning.
"Flood warning and high river levels. Glacier NP has received almost record amounts of rain and upwards of two feet of snow in the high country. A flood warning is issued through Thursday for the east side of the park and high river levels will continue on the west side throughout the weekend"
Flood risk is increased by weather forecast of temperatures in the 70's this weekend followed by low 80's for Monday.
Rising Sun and Avalanche Campgrounds are scheduled to open on Friday.
June 18, 2014
"Another period of widespread, heavy rainfall is expected today through Thursday. Heavy snow will continue in higher elevations of Glacier National Park with additional snowfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches expected. Up to 2 inches of slushy snow accumulation is also possible at Marias Pass. Flooding and mudslides have been reported in areas around Browning and Glacier National Park and the potential for flooding exists in these areas as well as other areas along the Rocky Mountain Front and adjacent plains. Watch for rapid rises on rivers, streams and creeks as well as ponding on roadways. Additional mudslides or debris flows are also possible in higher terrain and cool and wet conditions could cause hypothermia to those spending time outdoors. National Weather Service Report"
St Mary & Kintla Campground are closed due to flooding.
Well my post on June 17th about Glacier National Park missing the bullet was so far off the mark that it isn't funny. Flattop Mountain Snotel reports 6 inches of new snow today. Many Glacier Snotel reports 4.2 inches of rain since June 14, 2014. Current precipitation total since October 1, 2013 is 38.8 inches. Last year during the Calgary Flood Many Glacier got 2.7 inches of rain. It's possible that rain occurred in shorter span of time. Many Glacier got more snow in the mountains along with heavy rain in the valleys. Flood watch for Glacier Park and the Flathead Valley. Temp is currently 40 Deg F at the valley level. Temp of 29 Deg F at Logan Pass during the night. At this time I doubt if Logan Pass will open this Friday. With all of this rain the new creek bed that opened up this spring near the head of Lake McDonald and the GTSR will be causing major problems.
June 17, 2014
OK looks like Glacier National Park dodged the bullet on this storm. Low temp at Logan Pass was 35 Deg F last night. The weather station that I can access for Logan Pass doesn't record rainfall but the Snotel for Flattop Mountain showed same low temp and only 1/2 inch of rain. Kind of weird for me because I'm pretty sure I got more rain then that. One of these days I want to get a mini weather station for my place as I am in a very wet zone. High temperature at Logan Pass over the last three days was 43 deg F. For those first time visitors to Glacier National Park it is important to understand that higher elevations are at near winter conditions.
June 16, 2014
Well I went back to Glacier National Park's web site to check out plowing photos and saw that a Severe Weather Alert
"Widespread Heavy Precipitation
Heavy rain and mountain snow predicted by the National Weather Service, Monday night through Thursday. For more information, please go to NOAA's website." is now active for Northwest Montana.
In case you haven't figured it out I live in Northwest Montana.
So this could impact the opening of the Going-To-The-Sun-Road.
With severe weather my guess is little chance for the east side to open.
If it does snow above 6,000 feet it could delay the west side opening as well.
Glacier National Park's web master has been more pro-active this year with Park Alerts.
NOTE: below report was prior to severe weather warning!! from NPS afternoon plow report "West Lakes Road Crew On Monday June 16th, the West Lakes Road Crew pioneered through the Big Drift, there will probably be about 3 to 4 more days left of cutting down the drift and getting to bare pavement. They cleaned out the parking lot at Logan Pass, installed guard rails, and performed road clean up down to Loop. Weather was rainy in the morning and clear in the afternoon. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Monday June 16th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew made it to Lunch Creek and pioneered to the Big Drift where they met and shook hands with the West Lakes Road Crew. It was cloudy and cold. Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Tuesday June 17th, the West Lakes Road Crew will be plowing in the Big Drift, blowing out the parking lot at Logan Pass, doing road clean up from the Loop to the Pass, and placing barrier logs. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Tuesday June 17th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew between Lunch Creek and the Big Drift performing clean up. " So unless something strange happens the Going-To-The-Sun-Road road will open to Logan Pass this Friday June 20, 2014. Not sure if the east side of Going-To-The-Sun-Road will open at that time, might open but don't bet on it. Otherwise mid week next week for the entire Going-To-The-Sun-Road to open to two way traffic.
June 13, 2014
This is from GNP Trail Status Page "Jct. above Ptarmigan Falls to Iceberg Lake/ 2.1 mi. Trail posted for hazardous travel conditions near the Ptarmigan Bridge per 822 Adams. There is no bridge at Ptarmigan Falls and the crossing is extremely hazardous. Crossing is not advised. Emergency bridge repair will take 2 to 3 weeks. 6/13/2014 per 650. Initial clearing scheduled for: Trail is 100% snow covered, with numerous steep snowfield crossings. Travel not recommended. 6/6/14 Iceberg Creek Bridge: REMOVED 10/9/13 per 650 Estimated Installation: 7/3/14 "
Hiked to Snyder Lake yesterday afternoon.
Sky was 100% overcast with hints of rain. Lower section of the trail was almost totally clear of horse manure. One lone traveler had been in earlier in the week on horse back to Snyder Lake. (some hikers have trouble telling horse manure from bear scat) Shortly after starting on the actual Snyder Lake Trail which is two miles from the trailhead at Lake McDonald Lodge, started to encounter wildflowers. Yellow violet, Canada Violet, Spring Beauty, Glacier Lily and bear grass in the bud stage to name a few of the wildflowers that are blooming NOW on this trail. The closer you get to the valley that the lake rests in the more wildflowers. This is currently the BEST wildflower hike in Glacier National Park. the actual Snyder Lake Trail is WET, not that muddy but lots of water crossing the trail. Fresh bear scat after entering the cirque. The BEST display of Spring Beauty that I have ever seen anywhere!
This was my first hike with altitude gain, 2,000 feet and distance 9.2 miles since getting new hiking boots and a new day pack. Will do a write up sometime next week on these great upgrades to my hiking gear! It has only taken four different makes of hiking boots and three different makes of day packs to finally get something that helps instead of hinders my hiking.
June 12, 2014
Cut Bank Campground to open this Friday.
Avalanche and Rising Sun to open June 20th which is the earliest that the Going To The Sun Road can open to through traffic this year.
Note: That is can NOT WILL. Most likely the west side will be open to Logan Pass but little chance that east side will open to Logan Pass. Hopefully east side will open to Siyeh Bend on the 20th but that is unclear at this time.
Missing hiker in Glacier National Park
June 11, 2014
I'm posting the information from Glacier National Park's Trail Status Page for the hike that required a rescue. "Summit and Autumn Creek Trails
Marias Pass Trailhead to Firebrand Pass Jct./ 6.2 mi.
First 1.4 mile to Autumn Creek Junction 90% snow covered (7 trees down) 05/28/14 per 824 Bouf Initial clearing scheduled for:
Firebrand Jct. to Midvale Cr.Trailhead(E.Glacier)/ 7.7 m
Winter Message: Trail may be under winter conditions(snow, ice, route finding skills necessary) In May/June of 2014 estimated dates for trail clearing will be posted to this site. 11/15/13 per 650 Initial clearing scheduled for:
A $10.00 Blackfeet Tribal Conservation Permit is required by each person (regardless of age) who crosses the reservation at the East Glacier end of this trail. Crossing the reservation is unavoidable to get to or from East Glacier."
from NPS "Date: June 11, 2014 Contact: Denise Germann, 406-888-5838 Contact: Jennifer Lutman, 406-888-7895 WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Missing hiker Luis Lim spent one unexpected night in the backcountry after failing to return from a day hike on the Autumn Creek Trail near Marias Pass in the southern section of Glacier National Park. Park rangers successfully located the man near the trail at approximately 10:30 a.m. (MST) this morning and found him safe with no serious injuries. On Tuesday, June 10 at approximately 11 a.m., Luis Lim, a 48-year old male from Chicago, and Stephen Vickery, a 66-year old male from Toronto, departed on the Autumn Creek Trail from East Glacier towards Marias Pass. According to park rangers, their intended destination was the Lubec Trailhead. The two men had just met that morning in East Glacier and decided to hike together. This was Lim's first time hiking, while Vickery describes himself as an experienced hiker. Glacier National Park Dispatch received a phone call from Lim at approximately 5:40 p.m. stating himself and Vickery were lost on the trail and concerned they would not make it out before dark. Glacier County Sheriff's Office pinged Lim's cell phone several times in order to pinpoint their location. Glacier County deputies responded to the area and located Vickery on U.S. Highway 2 at approximately 2 a.m. Vickery told park rangers that Lim was still in the backcountry and was physically unable to continue with him due to exhaustion. The hikers carried water and food for the day, but were not prepared to stay overnight. On Wednesday, June 11, approximately 6 a.m. five crews of Glacier National Park employees began a search for Lim on foot and horseback. The hiker was located approximately 3.75 miles from the Marias Pass Trailhead, off the Autumn Creek Trail around 10:30 a.m. Lim was not injured, but he was cold, tired, wet, and hungry when found. He arrived safely at the Marias Pass Trailhead with rescuers at approximately 2 p.m. today. Flathead County Search and Rescue and Two Bear Air were en route to the search when the hiker was located. Visitors are strongly encouraged to plan for and enjoy all that Glacier National Park has to offer. This includes learning about the area you plan to visit, especially when traveling in the backcountry, and having the items you may need if the situation changes. Hikers should carry up-to-date maps, compass, first aid kit, flashlight, rain gear, matches, fire starter, whistle, extra food, and extra clothing. Without planning and awareness of an individual's surroundings, accidents can happen. If a hiker becomes lost, stay on a designated trail and do not move from your location. Try to contact emergency services if possible and follow all directions from park rangers for your own safety. Park rangers recommend all visitors utilize the Glacier National Park Day Trip Plan, available at any backcountry permit office in the park or online. This valuable tool provides details of your intended route to search and rescue personnel, narrowing search locations and potentially saving lives. "
(Note: I modified the release to make the link active on this site.)
Photo above by GNP
From Glacier National Park's web site on plowing. "West Lakes Road Crew On Tuesday, June 10th, the West Lakes Road Crew worked their way through Oberlin Bend towards the parking lot. They also installed guard rails and performed road clean up. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Tuesday, June 10th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew pioneered the East Tunnel. The road is down to pavement halfway to the tunnel. The snow depths around the East Tunnel were around ten to fifteen feet deep. Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Wednesday, June 11th, the West Lakes Road Crew will be plowing in the Oberlin Bend and will attempt to make it into the parking lot. They will also be doing road clean up and placing barrier logs. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Wednesday, June 11th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew will be plowing the East Tunnel towards Lunch Creek. " OK folks after Lunch Creek is Big Drift still no word on it's size this year but my GUESS is over 100 feet. Will need to go through the parks photos form 2011 but at this point not sure if GTSR will open to through traffic by the 20th. Pretty good chance that it will open baring unforeseen problems on the west side to Logan Pass by the 20th.
As mentioned several times drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in Glacier National Park. Link below is to a rescue in Yosemite National Park
A visitor from Japan was killed by a falling tree in Yellowstone National Park this week. The Roberts Fire killed untold numbers of trees many of which are still standing (barely) the Howe Lake Trail in particular is surrounded by standing dead trees. Don't hike this trail on a windy day.
Saving my energy for most likely my last bike ride (for 2014) on the GTSR sometime this weekend. It rained late yesterday on the west side of Glacier National Park today it is blue sky and warm. West plow crew I guess will be working the Logan Pass parking lot this week. Most likely this will be the last weekend to get to bike from Avalanche to Logan Pass without having to share the road with cars.
June 9, 2014
Three days in a row without rain! Snow at Logan Pass still remains high but plows from the west should be in the Logan Pass parking lot this week. East side still has the Big Drift to deal with and no word yet on how high it is this year.
Next time there is a rainy spell will divide out prior year posts on this page into a 2013 page to help page loading speed.
June 8, 2014
from GNP web site "Iceberg Lake Trail posted for hazardous travel conditions near Ptarmigan Bridge"
June 7, 2014
Hiked to second meadow on Red Eagle Lake Trail on Friday June 6, parking area had the most vehicles I've ever seen there. Most likely as it is the ONLY trail head that you can drive to in St Mary.
Wildflowers on trail are continuing there slow start this year, with as usual Cow Parsnip growing the fastest followed by False Hellebore.
After that biked to Rising Sun, first time without a headwind. Wildflowers on both sides of going To The Sun Road with, to me, a surprising number of small Jacob's Ladder adding color to the unusually green landscape.
I will try and determine by phone today whether bike access to Otokomi Trail head is permitted. Construction continues on the Rose Creek replacement bridge. Unlike on my last visit there was no loud construction traffic yesterday. If you are biking on the GTSR on the east side there is construction vehicle traffic so you will want to stay to the right side of the yellow line. Yesterday was the first day in June that I didn't get rained on. (OK there were a few sprinkles) Temperature varied during the day from 40 d F to 67 dF.
June 6, 2014
While the forecast this weekend is mostly sunny there isn't a day without Thunderstorms forecast at sometime during the day.
While I would really like to get up the Going To Sun Road as far as possible this weekend after hiking out of Apgar Lookout last weekend during a Thunderstorm I will be picking shorter hikes this weekend.
June 5, 2014
Two Medicine Campground to open (partially) tomorrow. Cut Bank Campground to open (for now) June 13, 2014. Avalanche & Rising Sun to open June 20, 2014. June 20, 2014 is the earliest that traffic between West Glacier & St Mary by way of The-Going-To-The-Sun-Road
will be open this year. Aerial photo from May 30, 2014 shows the roof of the Logan Pass Visitor Center above the snow line at Logan Pass. West Side plow crews are still working their way through twenty foot snow drifts in the Rimrock Area of the GTSR.
It's the fifth of June and so far this month it has rained every day which is NOT unusual for June in NW Montana.
If you are in Whitefish tonight I will be showing the rough draft of my wildflower eBook at the Walking Man during the First Thursday Art Walk.
I lucked out with my macro lens that got soaked on my descent from Apgar Lookout this past Sunday. Dried the lens out in a large container of rice and went back to taking close up wildflower pics with it.
June 4, 2014
Don't know exactly when this happened but from Glacier Parks web site "East side hiker/biker restrictions: Hiker/Biker access on the east side is to the Rising Sun Picnic Area"
It's June in Glacier National Park, the weather has been warm and wet. Fast moving Thunderstorms with hail Sunday and Tuesday with lighter rain on Monday. Plow crew reports that the already plowed section of the GTSR on the west side will be cleared of newly fallen rocks and tree limbs. Hopefully there will be at least one sunny day this weekend. Two weeks ago biked to the Weeping Wall in my dreams will try next time to make it to Rimrock. On a more positive note I checked the Snotel data for Flattop Mountain and snow levels are way below those for 2011. CutBank Campground opening delayed due to snow, Two Medicine will open this weekend but not all sites are clear of snow. Got a new Osprey daypack yesterday and will be trying it out this week for the first time. Much better fit on my back, with more of the weight distributed to my hips. Only time will tell if that helps. Still drying out my 'waterproof' boots first time in 24 years that I have needed to use my winter boot dryers in the summer.
June 3, 2014
Glacier National Park's website posted this information regarding Trail Status Reports
"Detailed Trail Status and Maintenance Reports
The Trail Status Reports are currently off-line. Changes in our database structure require updates to all the individual trail status pages. We are working on the problem and hope to have the functioning as soon as possible."
Plow crew is down to pavement at the start of Rimrock on the west side of the Going To Sun Road.
Might be getting to Logan Pass from the west side sooner then June 20th!
Missoulian has an article on Mountain Goat study in Glacier National Park. Keep in mind that June tends to be a wet month in Northwest Montana. I learned my lesson after hiking down from Apgar Lookout during a hail storm and now have a day pack with a rain cover that is attached to the day pack. I'm still drying out my flower macro lens. Will check the Flattop Snotel sometime today and post were current snow levels stand compared to historical information for that site.
June 1, 2014
Apgar Lookout Trail is now open & wet.
Still snow to cross near the top with one of the smaller piles of snow having the steeper drop off.
Hot and sunny on the way up, cold & wet on the way down. I got soaked in a hail storm this afternoon when coming down from the Lookout. Wildflowers starting to bloom alongside the trail. All the downed trees have been cleared from the trail.
Rain jacket worked great, of course this was the first hike in six weeks that I DIDN'T bring my rain pants.
Trying to dry out my wildflower macro lens which got soaked in my backpack. On my way to get a waterproof cover for my backpack.
slow & wet hiker
May 31, 2014
Had an early buffet style all you can eat breakfast at Lake McDonald Lodge which starts at 6:30 AM. Biked to first curve above the Loop before one of my daughters and my youngest granddaughter caught up with me. (they started an hour later then I did)
We returned to Avalanche and took my granddaughter on her first stroll around the Trail of the Cedars. Afterwards I checked on the Quarter Circle Bridge which was above water.
Spoke with a hiker that had recently done the West Lakeshore Trail which it appears has been cleared of most of the dead-fall from the Roberts Fire of 2003. Note: This doesn't mean there won't be trees across the trail as there are still hundreds of dead trees lining this trail.
May 30, 2014
Hiked the South Boundary Trail again, last time was May 8. Trail crew has cleared the trees from the trail and rebuilt the trail bed in the avalanche chute. Wildflowers are much further along but still behind 'average' for this trail and time of year. Trillium's and Glacier Lilies are past their prime while the rest are just getting started. Creek crossings much easier as the water level is MUCH lower then 3 weeks ago. While the Lincoln Creek suspension bridge has been installed I still haven't gotten that far as this is the trail I hike when I get a late start in Glacier National Park.
May 30, 2014
This one was announced while I was over in Many Glacier so I missed it's posting From NPS news release "Bridge replacement work will begin in late September, after the Many Glacier Hotel and other concession operations close for the season, and will proceed through the first week of December. The project may be scheduled to occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The access road to the Many Glacier developed area and Many Glacier Hotel will be closed to traffic during the September-December work period. Masonry construction, roadway preparation, and paving required to complete the project will occur in late summer to early fall of 2015. This final stage of construction work will be limited to day-time hours, and access to the Many Glacier developed area including the hotel will remain open."
May 29, 2014
Drinking water Might not be available at Many Glacier Campground this weekend. Unless you are arriving from Canada to get to Many Glacier you will pass St Mary entrance to GNP. Water should be available at an outdoor Blue spigot in front of the St Mary Visitor Center. If for some reason that isn't working there is water outside of the toilet buildings in Loop C at St Mary Campground.
Two Medicine Campground opening delayed to June 6, 2014 due to snow. Many Glacier Campground to open May 30, 2014.
May 28, 2014
Red Eagle Lake Trail suspension bridges 1 & 2 installed 5-27-14 Which means you can get to Red Eagle Lake from St Mary. Swiftcurrent Lake Trail patches of snow. Many Glacier Campground patches of snow. Two Medicine Lake almost all ice gone. Access road to Two Medicine Campground was closed so don't know status at that campground. Hard hail storm in Two Medicine area last night. Heavy rain & T Storm in St Mary Last night. GTSR closed just after campground entrance. Hwy 49 MT aka Looking Glass HWY Dept working on smaller gravel areas and patching them with asphalt.
May 25, 2014
Just back from Glacier National Park, biked from Avalanche to Weeping Wall on The Going To The Sun Road. I'm one tired puppy. Lots of flowers below Loop little snow, above Loop only one small batch of Spring Beauty but lots of snow plus snow & rocks falling across road below me as I worked my way up to the Weeping Wall.
Glacier National Park posted this notice today
"Quarter Circle Bridge Road closed The Quarter Circle Bridge road is closed due to flooding. There is about 300 feet of standing water near the bridge, up to 3 feet deep. This closure affects the Apgar Lookout trail, the Old Flathead RS trail and boating Lower McDonald Creek." Expect this trail access will be iffy for next two weeks as the snow melt continues.
May 24, 2014
Memorial Day weekend is getting off to a cloudy start in Glacier National Park.
The Missoulian reports today that a grizzly bear fell to it's death on Friday in Glacier National Park.
May 23, 2014
The web cam in Two Medicine is showing spots of bare ground. Which means that five feet of snow has melted since May 1st when I biked into Two Medicine.
May 22, 2014
Well the weather forecast for the Memorial Day Weekend for Glacier National Park had been very promising. Just checked today around noon and scattered Thunderstorms over most of the weekend will blend with sunny and warm days. So don't forget your rain gear. The wildflowers will thrive with this forecast.
May 20, 2014
Biked to The Loop hundreds of Trillium alongside the Going To The Sun Road after Red Rock Falls. Glacier Lilies are starting to bloom along with Paintbrush, Round Leaf Yellow Violet and lots of other early wildflowers.
May 18, 2014
OK "Summer" season starts at several campgrounds this weekend! First light in Two Medicine is now at 5:39 AM.
Don't let the word SUMMER fool you since on the East Side of GNP the ground in Two Medicine and Many Glacier is still snow covered. Two Medicine in particular will present MAJOR challenges to camping as GNP Facebook page has a photo from a few days ago of snow higher then a car in the Picnic Loop of the campground. Many Glacier last week had about three feet of snow in the campground. The good news is the current forecast calls for sunny weather for Memorial Day Weekend which will be a real treat. Although I have never actually seen a hummingbird in GNP at my house north of Whitefish the hummingbirds are back in large numbers.
May 17, 2014
On Saturday May 17, 2013 The Apgar Visitor Center opened for the summer season in it's NEW location. The Apgar Transit Center is now the home of the Apgar Visitor Center which will be open seven days a week until the end of the summer season.
Apgar Lookout webcam is now showing patches of bare ground!
May 16, 2014
Glacier National Park hiker / biker access is now to The Loop.
"West side hiker/biker restrictions: Hiker/Biker is to The Loop. After 6pm and on weekends,there are no hiker/biker restrictions."
Weather forecast for the weekend doesn't look promising so will wait for a sunny day. Snow melt in Two Medicine and Apgar Lookout is progressing fairly quickly.
Just a reminder that bears are out as one left it's calling card on my driveway.
GNP plows are at Big Bend which is the last spot that I drove on The Going To The Sun Road last fall. That was on October 20, 2013. At that time there was about a foot of snow at Logan Pass.
When I was at Two Medicine on May 18, 2013 there was NO SNOW on the ground anywhere near the view covered by GNP webcam. Red Eagle Mountain only had patches of snow on the slope facing Pray Lake.
May 15, 2014
Chief Mountain Road to Canada is open. (note sure when it opened)
Hopefully Calgary will not have a repeat of last years major flooding.
May 14, 2014
Lincoln Creek suspension Bridge scheduled to be installed today on the South Boundary Trail. This trail has lots of wildflowers in bloom as of last week. No snow on this trail. This can be a very bot trail. At this time of year it would be a good idea to bring water shoes as there are numerous creek crossings.
May 13, 2014
Made a quick day trip to Many Glacier. The Looking Glass Highway is open. (aka Hwy 49) Those traveling on the east side outside the park please keep in mind that from East Glacier onwards is Open Range which means cattle and horses on and along the road. Saw several horses in the road so far no cattle. Two Medicine and Many Glacier entry roads are clear of snow. Two Medicine still has large snow banks along the road while until you get to the end of the road in Many Glacier snow is mostly gone along the road. GNP is working on the semi permanent slumps in the entry road which appeared to have suffered more then usual winter damage this year. Once you get to Many Glacier Hotel there is some snow along the road. The Grinnell Glacier Trail is 100% snow covered with from 2 to six feet of snow in places on the way to Lake Josephine. Stopped at the near side dock for Lake Josephine. cleats were all I needed but from hikers tracks and conversations most just had hiking boots. If it gets much warmer then it will be post hole hiking. At the moment it is fairly easy to hike on the well compacted trail. There were fairly new bear signs. The Many Glacier Campground is almost totally snow covered. Big Horn ewes were near the entry road to the Many Glacier hotel for spring grass.
May 11, 2014
Good news ~ Sprague
Creek Campground opened early this year! Dates of Operation Summer 5/9/2014 - 9/15/2014.
Heavy rains Friday resulted in a rock slide onto the GTSR at the intersection of the Apgar Loop Road. Added to this was a intermittent creek draining from Snyder Ridge which flooded the GTSR with mud. Sunday's weather was much drier and sunny in the afternoon. The parking at Avalanche was full. Bikers and hikers were enjoying one of the few sunny weekends in many weeks. Hiked to Avalanche Lake. Sometime this past winter or possibly late last fall a micro burst / avalanche knocked down a large number of trees in the area were the trail starts to follow Avalanche Creek. Trail crew has already cleared the trees from the trail. As usual for this time of year the trail was snow / ice covered for the last 1/4 mile.
All of the waterfalls were still frozen in the slopes above Avalanche Lake. A few mountain goats could be seen on the cliffs across from the lake outlet log jam. As the trail approached the lake snow was in parts waist deep but compacted. If your planning on hiking this anytime soon bring some ice cleats for the upper part of the trail.
Harlequin ducks are starting to arrive in Glacier National Park.
May 10, 2014
It is another rainy weekend in Northwest Montana.
One day of sun this week.
GNP Trail Status page is still dated August 5, 2013, hopefully that page will start to get updated soon.
While I haven't been to it this spring I expect the Rocky Point Trail to be 100% clear of snow. It has been two weeks since I was at the Avalanche Gorge Boardwalk and at that time it was ice covered but intact. Expect the snow and ice to be gone on the boardwalk. The lower half of Avalanche Lake Trail should be clear of snow while the upper half should still have several feet of snow.
GNP Plowing report "West Lakes Road Crew On Thursday, May 8th, the West Lakes Road crew made it past Haystack to the Alps. They encountered 10' of snow with up to 20' in the chute. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Thursday, May 8th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew plowed to just below Jackson Glacier overlook."
May 9, 2014
Going To The Sun Road opened to Avalanche on the west side of Glacier National Park.
May 8, 2014
Hiked 3/4 of South Boundary Trail but not quite to Lincoln Creek. Zero snow, lots of wildflowers. Unless you comfortable with iffy footing wait 10 days or so until annual trail maintenance takes place. Trillium, paintbrush, Blue Eyed Mary and many many more wildflowers are blooming on the South Boundary Trail. Middle Fork of the Flathead is up but not muddy. If you do this trail bring water shoes.
Apgar Lookout Trail Entry Road is open. Top of Apgar is snow covered this year. Last year was 99.9% clear of snow on this date.
May 5, 2014
Plowing resumes today May 6, 2014 on the GTSR, The GTSR plow crew works four day, ten hour day Tuesday ~ Friday. Most of May has been wet and warm. Wildflowers are starting to make their appearance as the snow melts, with an assortment of violets and the occasional Trillium. Snow level is dropping fast at Apgar Lookout.
May 2, 2014
The Two medicine Road is now open.
The Many Glacier Road is OPEN!
The Merc in Polebridge is OPEN 8 - 6 seven days a week.
So the two diagonal corners are open. (note: this doesn't mean that the Inner North Fork Road is open to cars.)
The South Boundary Trail appears to be clear of snow.
May 1, 2014
Biked from Running Eagle Falls parking area to Two Medicine Lake. Snowshoed along the western shore of Two Medicine Lake to Paradise Point. Warm, sunny day. Glacier Park plow crew moved the rotary plow and snow plow out of the Two Medicine Lake area. The small excavator worked to clear the snow around the public toilet. It was a very memorable day.
According to an Interpretive Park Ranger the road to Two Medicine will open tomorrow to motor vehicles and the road to Many Glacier will open to motor vehicles this weekend. This was also the understanding at Glacier Park Trading Post in East Glacier regarding access to Two Medicine and Many Glacier.
Without a doubt this was one of the nicest days I ever had in Glacier Park. This is especially true for spring in Northwest Montana.
The road into Two Medicine is totally free of snow and ice. Two Medicine Lake was frozen from one end to the other. Was not able to get into the campground area or to Pray Lake.
April 30, 2014
Two Medicine Valley looks to be headed towards having all the paved roads cleared by this weekend. As is mentioned in the GNP plow report the weather is amazing. Spring in NW Montana is usually cool, cloudy and wet. Forecast this week calls for sunny with a high in the 70's. Might need to revise my opening date estimate!
From GNP Plow Report
West Lakes Road Crew On Tuesday, April 29th, the West Lakes Road Crew plowed from The Grizzly slide path to Swede Point. They also pioneered through Granite slide towards Alder Point, 6 miles to the west of Logan Pass. The weather was sunny and the snow depths were 10 to 15 feet deep. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Tuesday, April 29th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew plowed around the boat company’s quarters in the Two Medicine Valley. They then finished plowing out the loop behind the campstore. They also began plowing the picnic loop road and were able to get about a quarter of it plowed. Snow depths are about 10 feet deep. The weather was sunny and amazing. Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Wednesday, April 30th, the West Lake Road Crew will continue to cut down to asphalt between Grizzly and Swede Point. They will also continue plowing to Alder Point. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Wednesday, April 30th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew will be working in the Two Medicine Valley plowing the rest of the picnic loop and the campground loops.
April 29, 2014
I'm hoping for nice sunny weather later in the week so that I can make my annual spring bike ride to Two Medicine Lake.
From GNP Plow Report
Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Tuesday, April 29th, the West Lake Road Crew will pioneer to Granite Creek culvert and continue to cut-down snow. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Tuesday, April 29th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew will be working in the Two Medicine Valley.
April 28, 2014
From GNP Plow Report
Hudson Bay Road Crew On Friday, April 25th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew plowed in the Two Medicine housing and water tank areas. They were also able to begin clearing the gravel loop near the Two Medicine Campstore. The drifts around the campstore are about 8 feet deep.
Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Monday, April 28th, the West Lakes Road Crew will be working on the road shoulders from Lake McDonald Lodge to Apgar. Hudson Bay Road Crew On Monday, April 28th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew is in training.
April 25, 2014
Last of the snow berms around my house melted yesterday. Today it is snowing at St Mary as can be seen on the GNP web cams. Also snowing on the newly plowed entry road to Two Medicine. Early this morning it was snowing at Apgar Lookout, that has now turned to rain. This weather system is the reason I biked on Friday in West Glacier/ Haven't seen any Trillium or Glacier Lilies blooming so for this spring. Will check out Camus Road next week sometime as there was no snow on either bank up to the top of the slopes. If it continues to rain will try and get some early spring snow pics up next week.
April 25, 2014 Afternoon Report From GNP
On Friday, April 25th, the West Lake Road Crew cut-down snow from Grizzly Point to Swede's Point encountering up to 15' of snow at slides with the sun gracing them with its presences.
April 25, 2014
While the plow crew was working above the Loop I biked from Lake McDonald Lodge to just past Narrow Bridge to the GTSR hiker / biker closure point.
On the way to west Glacier I stopped off in Coram to top off my gas tank. While leaving the station I glanced across US RT 2 and was very surprised to see 4 buffaloes. Other then some mule deer in Apgar didn't see any wildlife in Glacier Park.
April 24, 2014 afternoon report
The plows are working the campground entrance road in Two Medicine as of 1:45pm Today! I was checking out the web cam to see if it was snowing and grabbed a shot of the front end loader on the road in front of the web cam.
April 24, 2014
No GNP plow status report as of 10:00 am.
West Lakeshore Trail on Lake McDonald is reported to be choked with wind blown trees. The Roberts Fire of 2013 burned the majority of the West Shore of Lake McDonald and the fire killed trees have been falling across this trail for the last nine years. Apgar Lookout Trail is another trail heavily impacted by the Roberts Fire. Apgar Lookout Trail only has a few dead standing trees left near the trail, while the West Lakeshore Trail still has hundreds of trees withing tipping distance of the trail. Do not take this trail on a windy day.
Standard April weather has finally made it's appearance with cool temperatures and a steady, slow rainfall. No clear and dry weather in the forecast until Monday. So most likely it will be May before I bike to The Loop.
April 23, 2014 Afternoon Report From GNP
West Lakes Road Crew
On Tuesday, April 22nd, the West Lake Road Crew had avalanche training in the morning and transported equipment to the Loop to begin work on the “alpine section”. Snow depth at the Loop was about 3 feet. The road below the Loop was cleared to the width of a lane and an half. Intermittent patchy ice remains on the road.
Hudson Bay Road Crew On Tuesday, April 22nd, the Hudson Bay Road Crew plowed past Running Eagle Falls towards the switchbacks on the Two Medicine Road. The snow was around 5 feet deep. .
Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Wednesday, April 23rd, the West Lake Road Crew will continue plowing up from the Loop.
Hudson Bay Road Crew On Wednesday, April 23rd, the Hudson Bay Road Crew will continue to plow up the Two Medicine Road towards the Two Medicine Campstore.
April 23, 2014
GNP Bike West side hiker/biker restrictions:
"Hikers and bikers can travel about 6.5 miles up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Red Rock Pullout. After 6:00pm and on weekends, there are no hiker/biker restrictions. East side hiker/biker restrictions: There will be no hiker/biker access on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road due to construction."
April 22, 2014
Afternoon report from GNP plow status.
GNP Plow Report
"West Lakes Road Crew
the afternoon On Monday, April 21, the West Lake Road Crew cleared to the Loop. Lower BPR and lower Grizzly (slide paths prior to the Loop) were about 10-14 feet deep. Snow depth at the Loop was about 3 feet.
Hudson Bay Road Crew On Monday, April 21, the Hudson Bay Road Crew plowed from the Highway 49 junction to just past the boundary on the Two Medicine Road. Snow depths were around three to four feet and the weather was nice and sunny." Projected Work Activity West Lakes Road Crew On Tuesday, April 22nd, the West Lake Road Crew will continue working at the Loop and is doing some avalanche training today.
Hudson Bay Road Crew On Tuesday, April 22nd, the Hudson Bay Road Crew will plow towards Running Eagle Falls. "
end of GNP afternoon plow report for April 22, 2014
Weather report is for light rain until Saturday April 26, 2014.
Hopefully if weather permits The Loop will be open to bikes this weekend. GNP may be hold off for a week since this year has had so many avalanches.
Two Medicine web camera shows the biggest single daily drop in snow level since the camera went back on-line this spring. It appears that the snow level dropped about 6" inches yesterday. The infamous trash dumpster which is four feet three inches high at the low point is now showing up as a hump in the snow. Plow crews should be starting work on the Two Medicine entry road sometime today.
GNP has cut back for the moment how far you can bike during the week on the west side. Closure is now at Avalanche. The bad news is that there is NO hiker/biker access on the East Side of GNP. I got that back-words this morning whoops!
"West side hiker/biker restrictions: Hikers and bikers can travel about 5.5 miles up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Avalanche. After 6:00pm and on weekends, there are no hiker/biker restrictions. East side hiker/biker restrictions: There will be no hiker/biker access on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road due to construction."
April 21, 2014
From GNP "West side hiker/biker restrictions: Hikers and bikers can travel about 6 ½ miles up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Red Rock Pullout. After 6:00pm and on weekends, there are no hiker/biker restrictions."
April 19, 2014
Biked to Narrow Bridge on the GTSR. Snow piled up about 12 feet high with tree trunks sticking out from the bridge to near the GNP gravel pit. First time in 24 years of spring biking that I have encountered an avalanche at this spot. Note: This is not the avalanche shown on GNP Flickr page that is another mile or so up the road. From the Narrow Bridge for the next mile or so the road was covered with a mixture of ice and slush. I will wait until next week to possibly make it to The Loop.
From GNP plowing report "West Lakes Road Crew On April 18th, the West Lake Road Crew cleared from Lower Haystack to the base of BPR encountering 2’-4’ of snow and endured a rain/snow mixture falling from the sky.
April 18, 2014
Hudson Bay Road Crew
On April 18th, the Hudson Bay Road Crew moved plowing equipment to Two Medicine."
This is great news for me. If it is a choice between biking to The Loop or to Two Medicine Lake well the east side will win weather permitting. According to the Two Medicine web cam there is still over four feet of snow at Two Medicine Lake.
April 17, 2014
Glacier Park webcams show that it is snowing at Apgar Lookout and in the Two Medicine Valley. Elsewhere it is raining. D. Fagre of the USGS stationed in West Glacier has 30 years of Snotel Data from Flattop Mountain plus lots of math calculation to estimate possible opening dates for Logan Pass. Most everyone is aware that the amount of winter snowfall is a major determining factor in that date. What D. Fagre shows is that spring weather is also a critical element effecting Logan Pass opening. See the data at NOROCK USGS GNP NOROCK
April 16, 2014
Not sure what the status is for the Merch in Polebridge as the North Fork Newsletter posted information that the owners would not be there for the scheduled May 1st opening date. Will post back on May 1st regarding the status for the Merch this summer.
It snow yesterday at Apgar Lookout and it seems from photo's posted on GNP Facebook site that St Mary got several inches of new snow. Can't confirm how much as the St Mary Web Camera is out of service this morning. Camus Road opened to motor vehicles yesterday.
GTSR is plowed to Red Rocks. Hope to post a photo of a biker in front of the Red Rock Avalanche soon. It appears to be about 30 feet high which is in the 'average' range for that location.
April 14, 2014
Photo of the first avalanche cleared by the west side plow crew. Note: photo sent to me by "Amelia".
April 12, 2014
Snowed in Glacier National Park ~ Areas with bare ground or bare pavement quickly melted after the storm passed and the sun came out. Two Medicine appears to have gotten a few inches and since the ground is covered with over 4 feet of snow it stayed. My guess is that Many Glacier conditions will be similar.
April 10, 2014 from GNP "Due to plowing operations in the Avalanche area, Hiker/Biker access will be to 1/2 mile below Avalanche Campground."
On April 9, 2014 wind gust of 139 mph were recorded at Logan Pass.
According to reliable sources Camus Road has been plowed.
April 9, 2014 I biked to Avalanche for the first time this year. (the work crew was out to get an excavator so the road wasn't closed that day) GTSR from West Glacier to Avalanche is totally clear of snow and ice. Beyond Avalanche the road is plowed but has a 2" thick layer of ice. The roads to the picnic area have been plowed but are sill snow covered. Lake McDonald was mostly frozen on the 8th but is now almost totally free of ice.
April 1, 2014 ~ It is still snowing at higher elevations, Lake McDonald is starting to thaw out and plowing on the GTSR will hopefully start soon.
On October 17, 2013, Glacier Park re-opened, hopefully for another one hundred years without interruption.
GTSR now open on the west side to Lake McDonald Lodge were it will stay until around Mother's Day 2014, when historically the road opens to Avalanche.
I'm leaving for the winter this photo of Swiftcurrent Mountain from Oberlin Bend the Photo series is now located to mark the closing of Glacier Park is now located here. Swiftcurrent Mountain if you squint there is a small rectangular shape at the top center of the mountain. This is the Swiftcurrent Lookout which this year I got within 200 vertical feet before turning around due to muscle cramps. The photos from the Lookout which you can see here were taken last year, while the photos looking down at the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail were taken this year.
Glacier National Park was closed for the first time in over 100 years!
Logan Pass opened this year to through traffic on June 21, 2013
~ Logan Pass opened from the East Side of Glacier Park on June 15, 2013
September 23, 2013 - A section of the road (GTSR) will close to vehicle traffic to accommodate accelerated road rehabilitation. You will still be able to drive to Logan Pass, most likely from the West Entrance. October 20, 2013 - The last day to drive to Logan Pass. October 21, 2013 - The alpine section of the road will be inaccessible to vehicles.
Shuttle Service started July 1, 2013 at 7:30 AM please note the later starting time!
Logan Pass opened June 21, 2013
~ Logan Pass Opened June 19, 2012
~ Logan Pass Opened July 13, 2011 ~
GNP Trail Status Reports DO NOT Appear to be current or up to date
as of 9-25-13
Glacier National Park Trail
Status Information for 2013
I have divided information for 2013 into three separate pages.
2013 info from January till the end of June 2013 is now located on the 2013-Winter-Spring-GNP page.
Here is an on the scene video of one of the twelve rock slides that occurred on July 19, 2012 in GNP on The-Going-To-The-Sun-Road . . . .
Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain-passes.
They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy,
set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.
log John Muir
Current Conditions in Glacier National Park for 2013
This is a compilation of on-line news from various government web sites and on the ground observations from my various visits to Glacier National Park it is as accurate as I can make it but there is not a guarantee of its complete accuracy. For the most current trail conditions all campgrounds have a weather and trail report posted on their boards.
October 1, 2013
Glacier Park is closed for the first time in over one hundred years. Google has joined in it's own unique way it's silent protest of the folly that is Congress. Today on my screen Google.com is displaying a collage of National Park patches.
Flattop Mountain remote weather station on the western side of Glacier Park is reporting 8 inches of snow as of noon today. When GNP was reporting 8 inches of snow at Logan Pass FlatTop Mountain was reporting zero inches of snow. So a good guess would be about 16 inches minimum at Logan Pass today. Winter is settling into the upper reaches of Glacier Park blissfully unaware of the games going on in Washington DC.
FYI October 1st is the start of the official snow / water year data collection. There was about 85 inches of precipitation last year at Flattop Mountain. Which if memory serves is pretty near to average over the last 40 some years. A good friend of mine has a political commentary website www.flatheadmemo.com. I will leave to him further comments on this truly sad subject.
September 30, 2013
Quote is from todays NYTimes
"Hikers headed into the wilds of Utah's Zion National Park on Monday were warned to pack up their trail mix and head back to civilization within 48 hours, said Aly Baltrus, a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Parks Service."
Looks like its snowing in Two Medicine. Will try and get to Demer's Ridge soon. It is clear in Whitefish but the web cams in Glacier Park show low cloud cover. Apgar webcam is showing a very distinct snow line on its view towards the Garden Wall. GTSR closed at the Loop. It seems I was wrong and the GTSR was open for a day or so to Logan Pass from the west. With the government set to 'shutdown' tomorrow it will be anyones guess as to were the gate is left shut. Since The Loop historically stays clear of snow for some time hopefully that gate will remain were it is at present. My optimism seems to be refuted by the above quote from the NY Times. There is a possibility that the web sites as well as the web cameras will go dark.
September 29, 2013
All of the GNP web cams appear to be down Except for Two Medicine. Winter has arrived early this year at the higher elevations. I do not expect to be able to drive to Logan Pass until next summer. With the expected government shutdown park services will be severely limited. In the past the GTSR has remained opened to whatever gate was in place on the the day of the shutdown. Hopefully that will be the case this year. Since visibility is extremely limited I don't plan on driving over to West Glacier any time soon. Will wait until the cloud layer lifts.
Wouldn't recommend starting on any trails that have suspension bridges as despite the lack of updates on the Trail Status Page my guess is all the suspension bridges have been removed.
If anyone know otherwise please send me a note!
September 26, 2013
The Going To The Sun Road is closed due to heavy snow at Logan Pass at Big Bend on the west side and due to construction on the east side at St Mary.
September 25, 2013
Well The Going To The Sun Road is closed on the east side. Only four more days of camping in Many Glacier and after that ALL of the National Park campgrounds on the east side of the park will be closed well before winter sets into the valleys. Lots of drive time to visit the east send me the park this fall. I'm starting the slow process of individual wildlife pages with the most famous of Glacier Parks wildlife the grizzly bear.
September 20, 2013
This weekend was your last chance to drive the entire Going to The Sun Road!
It is also the last time that you will be able to hike ANY of the East Side Hikes that intersect the Going to The Sun Road!
The St. Mary Campground, located on the east side of the park, is closed temporarily.
September 19, 2013
Trail Postings Highline Trail, from Granite Park Chalet to Logan Pass - bear frequenting St Mary Falls Trail, from Jackson Glacier Overlook to Sun Point - bear frequenting Sperry Trail, b/w Sperry Chalet and Gunsight Lake – bear frequenting Hidden Lake Trail - bear frequenting Swiftcurrent Pass Trail, 1/2 mile east and west of Bullhead Lake - bear frequenting
Above Info from NPS
This years service berry is spotty, while in some areas such as St Mary Campground has lots of berries while Many Glacier had a poor crop.
Of course St Mary Campground berry crop is the same as offering a young child candy then slapping their wrist when the reach out to take it.
September 18, 2013
Snow at Logan Pass and other locations above 6,000 feet.
September 17, 2013
Hiked to Firebrand Pass. Nice views moderate hike, actually the easiest pass hike that I have done in Glacier Park.
In addition to the views was fortunate to have great, back-country experienced, hiking partners. Actually my hiking partners have a more diverse back-country experience with other National Parks.
September 16, 2013
Discovered that St Mary Campground is hard sided campers ONLY. No notice on parks website to this effect! Expect that it will show up on parks web site in two or three days. Luckily for me it had rained the night before in Many Glacier and there were camping spaces available.
September 15, 2013
Two murders in Glacier Park that occurred thirty years apart. Both in the same general area of the park. The Missoulian today reports on the first recorded murder in Glacier Park which occurred thirty years ago this past July.
September 13, 2013
Missoulian article on hiker who fell into Jackson Glacier crevasse. Amazing that it wasn't a fatal accident
September 11, 2013
Flathead Beacon has an article about the new superintendent of Glacier Park Jeff Mow.
September 9, 2013
This appears to be the first murder in Glacier Park's 100 years. There have been some suspicious deaths but never before has anyone been arrested for murder in GNP. Press reports mention The Loop Trail but recovery efforts were focused on the steep terrain below The Loop retaining wall which faces Heavens Peak.
The more I read about the murder of Cody Lee Johnson with his newly wed spouse 'discovering' his body the more it reminds me of a short story written in 1843, by Edgar Allen Poe the 'Tell Tale Heart'.
Several newspapers (most of the newspapers in the US plus the Daily Mail in UK) have published that the newly wed wife of the young man, Cody Lee Johnson, from Kalispell, whose body was found at the bottom of The Loop this summer, has been arrested for his murder. I was camping at Sprague Creek Campground the night his body was found. For those of you not familiar with Glacier Park police sirens at dusk, along with the sound of loudly racing police motors racing by the campground are not an everyday occurrence. The next morning I drove up to The Loop to hike to Granite Park Chalet. Two Rangers were sitting on the rock wall above the sharp drop-off at The Loop. In addition several police cars were parked several spaces apart with yellow tape linking them together.
When I returned from my hike to Granite Park Chalet The Loop was swarming with Park Rangers and an assortment of others some in serious climbing gear rigged to belay down the sharp rock wall at The Loop. After leaving The Loop and heading back to my campsite, the helicopter staging area just below Logan Creek was almost as crowded with rescue crews and Park Rangers as The Loop had been.
Due to the steep terrain in Glacier Park, the park has established multiple locations throughout the park as designated helicopter rescue spots. Currently rangers are not set up for long line helicopter recovery and rely on aid from the Canadian Park service. Just as during this summers flooding from Calgary to Banff the US provided red cross helicopters to rescue stranded by the flooding.
This has been a very tragic year from a fatality standpoint in Glacier Park. My condolences to Cody Lee Johnson’s family. I will need to do some research to determine when the last murder occurred in the park. This is not the kind of news that I want to report.
I think I have some photos of the rocks below The Loop if so I will post them later. I am impressed with how quiet the FBI has been during this investigation. Yesterdays news reports were the first instance that I came across with a reference to the fact that the newlywed 'discovered' the body. When you see my pics of The Loop you will understand why this 'discovery' immediately made her the prime suspect in his murder.
September 4, 2013 Top of Page
Man Falls in Crevasse at Jackson Glacier
At approximately 8:50 a.m. this morning park dispatch received a call from a backcountry ranger reporting there was an injured visitor at the Gunsight Lake Backcountry Campground. The campground is located approximately five miles from the trailhead along the Going-to-the-Sun Road east of Logan Pass. According to reports from backcountry campers, a 36-year old male from California suffered injuries sustained from a 30-40 foot fall into a crevasse on Jackson Glacier Tuesday evening. It is believed the man was able to self rescue out of the crevasse and hike approximately 2.5 miles to the backcountry campground. Campers at the campground assisted him and spent the night at the campground with him. Early this morning three campers began hiking to the trailhead to report the need for medical assistance and that the man was unable to hike out due to his injuries. Several other campers stayed with the injured man. A backcountry ranger patrolling in the area was notified of the situation and contacted park dispatch for medical assistance. A.L.E.R.T. Air Ambulance was called and responded to the scene at approximately 10:00 a.m. today and transported the man to medical facilities. The extent of the man's injuries are unknown, but reported as not life threatening. It is believed the man was hiking and climbing alone. Travel on and around glaciers in the park is not recommended.
September 3, 2013
Glacier Parks web site status update has been 'adjusting' to the Labor Day closings of campgrounds. For a day it showed Bowman Lake Campground as closed which I am happy to say is no longer the case.
September 2, 2013
Labor Day marks the 'official' end of summer for Glacier Park. Sadly this years budget cut backs are going to make hiking on the east side of the park a matter of logistics since both Two Medicine and Many Glacier campgrounds will not be open as long as they have in the past.
Many Glacier will not be open in October this year, while Two Medicine will close on 8th of September 2013 which is 7 weeks earlier then normal. I expect that St Mary Campground will see a major upswing in it's fall camping use this year.
The following campgrounds closed today: Avalanche, (Bowman Lake now shown as NOT CLOSED), Fish Creek and Rising Sun.
Today is also the LAST DAY of operation for the Free Park Shuttle!
August 31, 2013 Top of Page
Earlier today I posted that all front country campgrounds were full. As of 3:12 pm today ALL the Campgrounds in Glacier Park are full except for Rising Sun and who knows how they are calculating full or not full since at this time they only allowing hard sided campers. Blue skies, warm weather and no smoke on the horizon certainly contributed to the campgrounds operating at capacity.
All front country campsites filled last night along with Bowman and Kintla Lakes. Not exactly a surprise. Weather looks near perfect for the 2013 Labor Day weekend in Glacier Park.
Monday is the LAST day of operation for the GNP free shuttle!
If you are planning on visiting GNP after Labor Day be sure and read the NPS Press Release on the Fall Shutdown Schedule. There is a link below on the August 28th entry.