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Galcier National Park

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Galcier National Park

Postby Mradford » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:26 pm

Hey everyone,

I am wondering if anyone has experience backpacking in Glacier NP? I don't have any trips planned or anything, I am just curious. How much like the Sierras is it? Did you feel safe even with the Grizzlies? Any good loops, or lakes, or fishing you sugggest that is not listed in backpacker mag or outside? Any info would be much appreciated!

Cheers,
Mike



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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:40 pm

Oldranger was their not to long ago, but by the time he gets to writing up a TR all
the glaciers in the park will be long gone. :lol:
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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby mello » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:31 pm

I did an out and back to Arrow Lake about 20 years ago. Started at the north end of Lake McDonald. It's a pristine Glacial lake! I didn't see a single person on the trail there or back. Grizzleys...yeah let's just say I was on my toes. No bear boxes or bear cans back then, but we were very careful with sleeping away from cooking area, not wearing cooking clothes to bed, and tying up a bear bag. We hiked with a bear bell too. Didn't see any, but on the trail back we saw huge paw prints on top of ours from the day before. So, they are out there.

It's an absolutely gorgeous pristine place that I would love to go to again! The entry and exit into our hike was very steep. Steeper than anything I've been considering in the Sierras. But, I don't have a lot of experience with backcountry Sierras (yet :D ) to be able to tell you differences. I would say Glacier is wetter and colder though!
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Arrow Lake
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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby dave54 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:41 am

Was there three years ago. Did not see a grizzly all week. The only sign I saw (scat, tracks) was old.
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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby Mradford » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:29 am

maverick wrote:Oldranger was their not to long ago, but by the time he gets to writing up a TR all
the glaciers in the park will be long gone. :lol:

haha!

Thanks for your replies fellas. I would definitely think of hiking with bear bells as well as bear spray.
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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby oldranger » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:40 pm

Sorry I don't have pics of Glacier trip with me to share. We didn't do any backpacking in Glacier other than a 4 day trip to Sperry Chalet (highly recommended). We did not wear bells--neither official sites or locals seemed to recommend them. Bear spray canisters were in evidence on almost every person. The park is much more sophisticated than in the pre "Night of the Grizzely" days. Bear management folks are out with shotguns and rubber bullets to make it painful to hang around trail. When Mr or Mz griz is persistent about hanging around trails then the trails are closed. I think the best strategy is to hike with a bunch of women when hiking. My experience is women are much more social on the trail than we men who aren't capable of much more than farting and grunting as we head up the trail. The noise from several women talking has got to be a better deterrent than the mere tinkling of a bell.

Glacier is spectacular!

Mike
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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:58 pm

Hey Mike-

I was in Glacier back in 2005, no backpacking, a few days hikes, definitely, and yes, I did have a can of bear spray along. The scenery was AMAZING, the fishing...meh...
I went from East to West, along the Going to the Sun Road, and soaked in all of the natural splendor. If you want to fish on the east side, make sure that if you're on the Blackfoot Reservation that you have a license for their Res, and get the heck outta there before dark. The locals were a bit more menacing than any wildlife. Here is a sample of some pics I took while I was there:

Image

Image

Image

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Totally worth the trip and the trout fishing on the way up there is some of the best in the world.

Cheers!

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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby urnotreal » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:21 am

Glacier is my favorite place on the planet. In fact, it is responsible for my living in Montana for the past 10 years. As for backpacking, it is quite different than the Sierras. Generally, camping is only allowed in designated sites. Each site has a few sleeping areas and a common kitchen area located a good distance away, complete with a wire for hanging food. As for terrain, every valley is glacier carved (this is actually where the park gets its name; not the glaciers that still reside there) into the classic U shape, but the rock is almost all sedimentary and metamorphic. Virtually no granite to be found. This makes the climbing and cross country travel a bit more difficult as every handhold must be tested before it can be trusted. Often, the rock will just pull right out of the side of the mountain. The colors are fantastic, though. Blues, greens, reds, purples, oranges, blacks, all rising above milky glacial fed lakes resting in wildflower clad basins. Wildlife is prominent. You're virtually guaranteed to see goats and sheep. Moose and deer are pretty common sights as well. The bear situation is much different here than in the Sierras. I've had enough close calls with grizzlies that I always carry bear spray and very rarely hike alone. Don't bother with the bear bells. You'll just annoy everyone near you. Singing and talking will let them know you're around. The key is not to sneak up on them, and they can be found anywhere. In fact, it's quite common to find grizzly scat on the summit of the park's highest peak. Most lakes have good fishing and no license needed at all as long as you're in the park.

Here are a few pics:



Image
Helen and Elizabeth Lakes (good fishing here)

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Redgap Pass

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Swiftcurrent Valley

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Hidden Lake
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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby Mradford » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:02 pm

Wow, those photos are gorgeous. Thanks for all the insight!!
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Re: Galcier National Park

Postby dave54 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:05 pm

urnotreal wrote:... Generally, camping is only allowed in designated sites...


That is the official regulation. I stayed on the trails and spent one night outside a designated spot. Friends in Kalispell tell me they go off-trail and disperse camp all the time without any incident and rarely see a ranger on the trails (off-trail never). So I wonder how rigorously the regulation is enforced.

A trip I have penciled out and am trying to make is a multi. Stash a mountain bike at Bowman Lake, drive to Kintla Lake, paddle to the end of Upper Kintla, hike over Brown Pass down to Bowman, retrieve the bike, and pedal back to the vehicle at Kintla. Hike up to the canoe and paddle back. Probably never be able to arrange it, so it is likely a vicarious adventure. :)
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