Glacier National Park
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Glacier National Park on 06/29/2013 13:26:23 MDT Print View

In May, before I started out on my way toward Glacier, I had picked out five separate trails that I wanted to hike there. But then as time got near, I found out that each of those five was still in full winter condition. That simply means that there is a lot of snow, and a hiker is unlikely to get very far or have a very good time. So, when I reached Glacier, I viewed some of those trails and I could see a lot of steep snow, so I had the good sense not to try to go very far on those trails. I went halfway on a couple of the trails, but turned back when it got steep. I was too lazy to pull out the snowshoes, ice axe, or crampons.

Specifically, the one trail that I really really want to hike someday is the Highline Trail that starts from Logan Pass and goes northwestward. Basically, it is a trail cut into a vertical rock wall, and there is a steel cable as a handrail. However, the steel cable is installed after the trail is opened for the season. Earlier than that, and the Highline Trail is officially closed. I inquired about that, and the rangers said that it is closed, and it is strictly illegal to try to travel over the Highline Trail when closed. Whereas, some of the other trails are recommended not to be used. So, I deleted the Highline Trail from my list of targets. Maybe I will return some year in August.

Then today I saw a news item, and this is very appropriate. Wow. A 64-year-old guy out hiking around.

---B.G.---

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Published: Friday, June 28, 2013, 1:13 p.m.

Packwood man dies in Glacier National Park

Associated Press

WEST GLACIER, Mont. -- Officials with Glacier National Park have released the name of a Washington state man who died in a fall on a closed trail.

Park spokeswoman Denise Germann said 64-year-old Charles Fred Huseman of Packwood, died Wednesday afternoon from trauma suffered in a fall from the Highline Trail, which is closed because of snow.

Witnesses told park rangers that Huseman was hiking the trail when he slid on a snow field and fell about 100 feet, landing along the Going-to-the-Sun Road about a mile west of Logan Pass. Huseman died at the scene.

The weather that afternoon included sun, rain, hail and gusty winds.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Glacier on 06/30/2013 00:27:04 MDT Print View

It is unclear what you want Bob. 3-5 minutes on Google will tell you or anyone that the Highline, and indeed most of the alpine trails, are not reliably snow-free until mid to late July. Rather like the Sierra, or most other mountain ranges in North America. I presume Gunsight Pass was on your list. I hiked that last weekend. Basic axe and crampon skills required, and with consolidated summer snow no slogging involved.

The Highline is a special case, and unfortunately you overstate it's hazard. The Rimrock section of man-made ledge is perhaps 150 yards long, after which the trail is simply cut into a steep scree slope. There are steep snow slopes in that section which can prove hazardous. What prompts the Highline to be capitol C closed is that the aforementiond section begins a mere 300 yards from what is at the end of June a parking lot alive with vacationers who in the classic Amuricun fashion have left their brains at home in jars. Were there not the big warning sign you no doubt saw, and which the gentleman from Washington ignored, more people would share his fate.

You Bob, and others like you, have several options.

-Come early season (now), strap on the spikes and enjoy lots of snow and no crowds. Everything is open to those with the will, save the Highline between Logan and Haystack.

-Come in August; everything will be open (save occasional bear closures in Many Glacier) and very crowded.

-Come in September. You might get snowed on, but the crowds are thin and the snowfields are as gone as they get.

-Come in winter, go skiing, and probably not make it to the Highline.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: re: Glacier on 06/30/2013 01:11:44 MDT Print View

"It is unclear what you want Bob."

That's because I don't want anything. I did not overstate any hazard on the Highline. The rangers simply told me that it was one trail that is officially closed to everybody before the cables are in place. That is because it is dangerous, and the recent death there seems to underscore that. No, I did not see any warning sign, because I had no intention of hiking on any trail that was officially closed. No, Gunsight Pass was not on the target list. Yes, I will avoid parks like that during the tourist rush.

--B.G.--