[Cdt-l] Snow on the Waterton route?

Jonathan Ley jonathan at phlumf.com
Wed Jun 9 14:47:45 CDT 2010

One dangerous bit will be the ahern drift... This is a place where the snow sluffs off a steep cliff onto the trail right below it. It gets icy there as there is little sun exposure, and it's pretty steep where the trail crosses / traverses. However, the dangerous bit isn't very long... Maybe 50 yards or so? If you have an ice ax, you can chop steps pretty easily.  I wouldn't want to go through there without an ax. Later in the season, the nps shovels out a path, but don't expect that to be done by June 18th or whatever. Surely they'll try to discourage people from traveling this route, but if you're familiar with this kind of travel, it's not bad.

Another area that can be trouble if it's not melted is the trail down from swiftcurrent pass, if you go that way. 

The passes tend not to be too steep... It's the traverses that are more problematic on the highline trail. When I went through there the snow had melted just enough that we had a sliver of trail to walk on usually. If there had been another foot of snow, many of those trail sections would have been more challenging... Bottom line is that an ice ax (and the knowledge to use it properly) is a good idea in GNP in June.


On Jun 9, 2010, at 11:17 AM, Jack Haskel <norcalhiker at gmail.com> wrote:

> So... with this discussion. What is the Highline Trail and the Waterton route actually like with early season snow? Anyone have photos? Experience? My impression is that it's not just difficult, but quite dangerous. I've seen a few photos of the trail passing over exposure and cliffs. I imagine that if it was covered in snow, it'd be so dangerous that few would pass. Some of the passes look steep. Would one need to frontpoint up and down them? I've hiked through lots of spring snow. I don't mind the difficulty, it's the danger that puts me off. 
> Anyone know what it's like?
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