Tuesday, March 30, 2010

East Side

Saturday, Justin, Ben, and I headed for the East side of Glacier park in search of some adventure. Ben had never been to the park in winter and I had never been to the east side in winter so we were both very excited. As expected the park never disappoints.

The scenery was stunning and we couldn't wait to be surrounded by it. Winds were howling so we camped at the gate eliminating the need to take so much gear into the park.

Looking in from the dam

The windy conditions made our camping situation less than ideal, but we made the most of it. A dam provided a nice wind break so we could at least enjoy a fire and not be forced into the truck too early.

By the morning we found ourselves very comfortable and too lazy to get up when the alarm went off. Two hours later we started stirring. Plans for the day were made, gear was sorted, and we began our adventure.

We were camping six miles from the Many Glacier hotel due to a gated road (thanks NPS). Since the road was completely void of snow, we brought bikes to quicken the approach. Other than the brutal head wind, the ride was nice. After about an hour we were ditching the bikes for skies.

Starting the trail to Iceberg Lake

Luckily there was enough snow to ski from this point. We decided to check out Iceberg Lake and ski the notch if possible. The trail to iceberg must be one of the best in the park. A very gradual ascent over five miles with continuous views.

Grinell Peak

High winds kept us from climbing any peaks, but we were still having fun and liking the light packs. As we got near the lake we could see the notch couloir and some ice climbs we didn't know existed. We were there to ski, but being climbers, we couldn't resist the ice.

We chose the largest, bluest ice and climbed it. Nice 350 feet of WI3+/4- with a walk off/down climb. As we were climbing, the weather changed. By the time we were back to our skies, we were in near whiteout conditions. This was the Glacier Park Justin and I have come to know so well.

Iceberg Lake Cirque

Unfortunately this shut down our plans to ski the notch also, but we were still happy to get the climb in. The rest of the day was spent skiing and biking out.

The climb (far left), the descent (far right)

As always our light and fast style allowed us to pack in 22 miles, an ice climb, and still make it back to Whitefish for drinks and greasy food.

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