2019 Hike to Sperry Chalet

Two years ago today, on August 31, 2017, the main dormitory at Sperry Chalet burned to the ground in the Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park.

The Glacier National Park community was shocked. I personally sat on my porch and cried my heart out at the loss of the old gal. The next morning, seeing the first pictures released by the park service, I felt certain that she would not, could not, be rebuilt.

loss of Sperry Chalet to Sprague Fire

Side view of Sperry Chalet after the Sprague Fire. NPS Photo.

That same morning that I questioned Sperry’s future, Doug Mitchell with the Glacier National Park Conservancy met with Glacier’s superintendent, Jeff Mow, and asked a simple question: How can we help?

And it wasn’t long after that Doug found himself purchasing timber, and the “Viking Ship,” as he referred to Sperry through that long winter of 2017-2018, was born.

Sperry Chalet, AKA The Viking Ship. Winter 2017-2018. Photo courtesy Glacier National Park Conservancy.

Those timbers supported Sperry as the politicians and the bureaucrats bantered about rebuilding her. Consultants and experts were hired, public opinion was sought and heard, hard decisions were made. And in Summer 2018, re-construction commenced.

Sperry Chalet construction, Summer 2018.

Sperry Chalet construction, Summer 2018.

Phase I, as it was called, was successful, and over the winter the National Park Service called for bids for Phase II. In May 2019, it was announced that the same contractor would remain in place for Summer 2019 construction. If construction went well — and to date, it has — a July 2020 reopening is anticipated.

I hiked up to Sperry last summer, to pay my respects to her, and to see that construction for myself. This summer, I haven’t yet had a chance to go, but a backpacking trip of ours went through there last week, and I asked Guide Todd Bauer to take a few photographs for me. Take a look.

rebuild Sperry Chalet

Dick Anderson Construction – crew housing during the Sperry Phase II project. Photo by Guide Todd Bauer.

The 2019 rebuild Sperry Chalet project is going well. Roof is on! Photo by Guide Todd Bauer.

rebuild Sperry Chalet

Sperry from above. Photo by Guide Todd Bauer

Glacier National Park mountain goat in the Sprague Fire burn

Mountain goat at Sperry Chalet, standing in the Sprague Fire burn. Photo by Guide Todd Bauer.

The love people have for Sperry — even people who’ve never been there — touches me. I’d say it touches many of us in the Glacier community. And all of the Glacier National Park Chalets are special — those still standing and those long since lost to us. There were once 9 of them. I encourage you to read about their history here.

Dawn from Swiftcurrent Fire Tower, near Granite Park Chalet.

Dawn from Swiftcurrent Fire Tower, near Granite Park Chalet. Guest Connor Joslin photo.

Want to go see the chalets yourself? We offer 3 day adventures from Granite Park Chalet several times each summer. In the past, we’ve also had the privilege to guide guests on 3 day experiences based out of Sperry and 6 day ultimate chalet tours involving Sperry, Granite, and Belton chalets. We’re hopeful that we’ll again be able to do so again in the future. You can always email courtney@glacierguides.com to get on the first-to-know-dates list! I look forward to hearing from you.

cheers to Sperry Chalet Glacier National Park Montana

The author at Sperry Chalet.