Inter Glacier MRNP
Taking advantage of a narrow weather window two of us marched up the Glacier Basin Trail thence skinning to the top of Steamboat Prow in a little over six hours. Leaving the car at 9:45 we were the late people. It started out severe clear and warm. At transition it was turning white, cold, and windy so no sitting around taking in the view. The skiing exceeded expectations even though it was fairly slushy unconsolidated snow on not really settled base resulting in turns that made deep impressions. I skied down to the last bit of snow on the trail, about a mile and half from the parking lot.
Part of the point of this expedition was to check out climbing conditions. Of summit attempts that day, only skiers topped out according to one account. Regular climbers were endlessly postholing and gave up after awhile. The rangers warned against summit attempts due to avalanche conditions on grades over 30% (I think they meant 30 degrees). The skiers route to Camp Schurman from Camp Curtis dropped really low compared to normal, with no indication whatever of the usual crevasse on the Emmons just below camp. There was quite a crowd camped at Schurman despite the rather terrible weather forecast of high winds and snow to come. All appearances show a late and long season for the north route.
In the class of people with ambition, there were two guys who were going to sleep in their car in the parking lot, get up at 2am, head for the summit and back in one go into the 40 mph winds.
Repeated this trip July 18 solo. Sunday night the White River Campground had plenty of space to stay. It rained pretty good for awhile in the middle of the night, so those in tents got a good test. I started up the trail at 7am, made Glacier Basin by 8:30. Still no snow so I walked another half mile to where the valley turns left to start skinning. Made it to the top of Steamboat Prow at 12:30, a personal best time. It was occasionally windy and cold on the way up, but all this had turned around by noon so it was sunny and pleasant at the top. Quite a few climbing parties. I was the only skier I saw on the Inter all day. The snow was pretty good soft corn, lumpy bumpy in places, last 500' schmoo. You could still find long stretches of smooth snow. There is still plenty of snow on top of the glacial ice. I crossed the creek much lower than on the way up at the last substantial snow bridge, necessitating a steep scramble up the dried mud scree to attain the upper meadow. This part of the route will melt out soon, especially with this weeks' hot weather. These sunny days make earlier starts more important than ever. I got away with a leisurely morning due to a couple days of cold front.
Start skinning here.
Lumpy Bumpy at times
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