Current Conditions in Glacier National Park, August 1st, 2008 for Montana Raft and Glacier Guides

Good morning folks, this is Denny with your hiking and rafting report for August 1st.  The Glacier National Park forecast for this weekend is:

West Glacier
Saturday: A 20 percent chance of showers after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. South wind between 5 and 8 mph.
Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 77.
Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 48.

St. Marys
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 71. West southwest wind between 6 and 9 mph.
Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 44.
Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 78.
Sunday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 44. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 71. West southwest wind between 6 and 9 mph.

The river level is 2.90 feet (2170 cfs) in West Glacier, creating an awesome wet adventure.  We have been running Paola down to Blankenship on the Middle Fork and Ford Ranger Station down on the North Fork.  We are running our Thrill Seekers and inflatable kayaks.  Remember we only put a maximum of 8-9 people per boat so everyone can have a window seat!  Bonecrusher and Big Squeeze have great waves at this level, but be aware of Can Opener in Tunnel and Z Rock above Screaming Right Hand Turn.

We have been fishing on the North Fork and Middle Fork with great results.  Catching mostly rainbows, cutthroats and cut bows.  12 feet clarity with the water dropping and clearing daily.  Terrestrials and foam bugs, foam lines are fishing well, remember the tail end of foam lines and the inside seams.  Look for Rainbows in more oxygenated water.   

The Going to the Sun Road is open.  Expect snow on the hiking trails at Logan Pass.

The trails are in great shape, but watch for slippery creek crossings, especially around waterfalls.  Expect snow above 7000 feet, on southern exposures at a higher elevation.  Ice axes and crampons are recommended for Gunsight Pass, Como Pass and heading over Boulder Pass.  Please contact the park for more details at 406 888 7800.

Closed Trails
Iceberg Lake from the Iceberg/Ptarmigan Junction to Iceberg Lake.  Bears.

Sullivan Meadows for resource protection.

Oberlin meadow is closed due to emerging vegetation.  There is a map at the visitor center for access to Oberlin peak.

Posted Trails and Areas
Swiftcurrent Valley Trail, trailhead to Bullhead Lake.  Bears.

Grinnell Glacier Trail from the head of Josephine to the Glacier.  Bears.

Iceberg/Ptarmigan Trail, trailhead to junction above Ptarmigan Falls.  Bears.

Hidden Lake Outlet area, for resource protection.

Goat Haunt housing area for bears.

Trail Reports
Lake McDonald Valley

Hidden Lake Trail -60% coverage with intermittent areas of exposed boardwalk.  HAZARDOUS SNOW ADVISORY: Slick, steep, snow slope at the moraine; please follow the yellow trail markers installed from the Visitor Center to the overlook. Use caution along wet rocks and melting creek areas; snow bridges exist and are dangerous.

Highline to Granite Park Chalet – Snow cover is about 5%.
Backcountry travelers should take note of important recommendations below. Glacier trail crews have removed major snow hazards on the first 2.5 miles of the Highline Trail by blasting and shoveling drifts at Rimrock, the Triple Arches area and a section of trail above Big Bend. Beyond this point, there are still snow hazards and some steep areas of snow to cross. Hikers should use caution and be prepared to cross much more snow then normally seen at this date in the season. It is recommended that hikers should have experience hiking across snow and, in addition, an ice -axe and lug-soled boots. Two common hazards related to snow travel on the Highline are: (1) snow bridges collapsing underneath hikers, especially at streams, where running water creates a void and, (2) where melting snowpack leaves a sharp drop, or large step, of up to 4 to 8 ft between snowpack and trail making it hard for some hikers to negotiate. Hikers should take care to stay off emerging vegetation where the trail across melting snow does not align perfectly with the actual trail below. A definite foot path is "kicked out" in all snowpatches.

Sperry Glacier Trail from the Chalet has SNOW HAZARD, WATER HAZARD ADVISORY. Trail is clear for the first 1.5 miles. The next 2.2 miles to the glacier are 50% snow covered and the trail is crossed by several steep snowfields; hidden snow bridges may exist. The headwall steps can be accessed without too much problem (snow-free in the staircase itself). Overall, hiking poles or an ice axe strongly recommended.

Avalanche Lake Trail is clear.

Loop Trail is clear of snow.

Apgar Lookout free of snow, some trees down.

Mt Brown Lookout is free of snow.

St. Marys Valley
Siyeh Pass does have some snow on the baring creek side.

Gunsight Pass has two prominent snow fields remaining 1/2 mile before Gunsight Pass. Ice axe and crampons and the ability to self-arrest recommended. The last 200 yards of trail leading to the Pass is completely snow-covered.

Many Glacier Valley

Iceberg Lake Trail is closed from Ptarmigan Tunnel Junction to the Lake.  Bears.

Grinnell Glacier Trail is 70% covered with snow above Thunderbird Falls.

Ptarmigan Falls to Ptarmigan Tunnel.  The tunnel is open.

Two Medicine Valley
Dawson Pitamakin is reporting a little snow, but no snow hazard.

North Fork
Head of Bowman Lake towards Browns Pass has a couple of trees down and a stream crossing at Pocket Creek.

Kintla Lake to Boulder Pass is clear of trees, 100% snow at Boulder Pass.

Backpacking
Mcdonald Lake CG is closed and expected to stay that way until reconstructed.

Boulder, Isabel, Camas Lake and Round Prairie are in spring conditions and are expected to open in the next couple weeks.

Fifty Mountain and Cobalt Lake have recently opened.

Backpackers are now going over Red Gap Pass, Stoney Indian, Dawson, Pitamakin, Triple Divide, Swift Current and Browns Pass.

The bears and lions are out and about.  Use caution around wildlife, there are young of the year and their parents are very protective.  Remember, we sell bear spray at cost. 

Before a long day of adventuring in Glacier please stop by the Bonecrusher Bistro for an espresso, breakfast burrito or sandwich (open 8 am to 6 pm).  Or stop by after for a smoothie, home made cookie or ice cream cone.