Glacier Park- Cold, Wet and Happy part 1

So, Me and my friend Josh have just finished hiking Glacier park.

Day 1…..  After getting permits we started from Chief Mountain on the Canadian border crossing. Walking through long meadows, and hiking to the top of Red Gap Pass, which was clear of snow, the descent down made easier by glissading a snow field on the other side instead of walking the switch back path. At the bottom of the valley as we come through a clearing a grizzly bear pops up and runs a few metres, we hear what we think is another bear in the trees and walk quietly on. From half 1 to half 8 we cover 20miles and feel like progress in the park will be good.

Day 2….. The morning starts well with a black bear encounter , Josh leading the way and the bear jumping up about 10meters away and sprinting to a safer point away from us(see pic). We take this as a good sign and keep hiking. Around 8am it starts raining, heavy. As cold as it is we push on, occasionally climbing over the downed trees from the winters avalanches, the forces involved in stripping the hillside and tumbling and splintering them to pieces must be immense. A few hundred feet up the valley we hit the snowline. The path cannot be seen so we make our own route, crossing snow bridges and keeping in awe of the tree tops pointing out of the snow. Because of the heavy rain we decide to scramble out own line up the pass instead of risk unstable snow slopes. The wind cuts to the bone through our wet layers so stopping is no option. We push as fast as we can to the top and descend over the other side, crossing snow slopes at pace axe in hand to arrest and falls. As we descend we pick a route carefully to avoid the cliff edges and weakening snow bridges, some looking no more than 6inches thick and spanning metres over icey rapids we hear running below. By the time we descend to the going to the sun road we are struggling to stay warm, shivering and jaws chattering. We decide the safest call it to bail out route and come back with dry gear. 7 hours of continuous rain and wind whilst winter mountaineering was not the original plan. 25miles covered this day. Finished by 3pm.

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