Monday, July 13, 2015

Glacier NP - Two Medicine Pass to Dawson Pass

Wedding festivities in Glacier allowed us to sneak away for a big day in the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park. Unfamiliar with the area, I used the Ignorance Is Bliss trip planning method,  suggesting trail running to Two Medicine Pass, traversing off trail to Dawson Pass, and trail running back to Two Med. It looked fun and adventurous on a map, and it is always engaging to check out a new area with very little up front information
Near the summit of Mount Helen, with Rockwell in the background.
We were up early and on the trail shortly after dawn, grinding out the miles to Two Medicine pass. We topped off our water about a mile before the pass and struck out off trail. I had my sights set on Mount Rockwell, and we slowly made our way up to the Southwest ridge, then climbed the upper peak following mountain goats up class 3 weaknesses on the Southwest face.
Classic Two Medicine sunrise photo.
Leah frolicking amongst the wildflowers on the way up to Two Med pass.
High on Mount Rockwell.
We summited well over four hours into the day.  After some slow scrambling off the summit, we plunged down 2,000 vertical feet of scree to a hanging basin above upper Two Medicine lake.  A very long traverse with loose rock and some steep snow allowed us to bypass Lone Walker mountain. Lone Walker looked like a great adventure, but we did not have enough time and energy to summit. Eventually we scurried up a goat trail to the saddle below Mount Helen.  It was late in the afternoon, so took a long break to refuel and discuss the very real possibility of bailing. I have a well cultivated passion for pushing on at low points like this, so we decided to push on and at least have a look. Soon we were on a good goat trail, and while the route was not immaculate, it ended up being perfectly acceptable.  After a long break on the Helen summit, we jogged easily down to Dawson pass, then  around hoards of hikers to Two Medicine lake.  The heat of the day caught up to us on the descent, and even a swim was insufficient to keep the heat at bay during the long run around the lake to the car. But we persisted, returning to the car almost 12 hours after starting.

Glacier is such an amazing place.

We had a great day, but it was only a precursor to the main event, celebrating our good friends Brace and Teagan and their new life together. 

Endless traversing above upper Two Medicine Lake.
Getting psyched to climb Helen.
Also displaying why I am a better mountain climbing artist than a yoga artist.

Leah getting technical on Helen.

1 comment: