Friday, November 21, 2014

Possible Peaks

I've been going over my Glacier National Park map and comparing notes with folk I know who hike there. What I've been searching for are really impressive summits that are not technically difficult and which can be done as day-hikes. I won't be in a position to do any overnight backpacking trips, so the peaks I want to reach have to be something I can do within the span of a day.

Initially I was curious about a peak called Grizzly Mountain. Seemed to have all the criteria I was searching for. High, but not a mountain that requires technical climbing to reach. But the more I looked at it the more I realized that it's at the absolute limits of reaching as a day-hike. I got differing mileages from people who had done it, but all of them seemed to say that the hike was somewhere between 20 and 22 miles. That's just more than I want to plow into a peak. If I had two days to use I'd arrange to make it an overnight hike. But Carole and I and our friends are going to be trying to pack so much into our time in Glacier that I have to stay close at hand. So Grizzly had to be ruled out.

And finally I think I found the two peaks I can bag while I'm in the park:

Mount Helen in the Two Medicine area (where we'll be camping), and Mount Oberlin near Many Glacier. Helen is a longer hike, but well within the constraints I've set. And Oberlin is often termed as the most climbable of Glacier's major summits.

So. That's the deal, as I now see it. Things could change, but the more I look at the maps and read about the hikes, those are the two that are currently foremost in my plans.

I've never hiked peaks exactly like the ones in Glacier, so I'll be comparing them to terrain out west where I have hiked. Features such as:

On Mount Washburn, Yellowstone National Park.
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park.
From Avalanche Peak, Yellowstone National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

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