May 19, 2011 at 11:39 am #1274087
@rbeardLocale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
wanted to do this trip with my bro in late july. anyone have any advise on logistics? i see that there is part of the trail that has been washed out for a couple of years now. is there a shorter way to do it and bypass this? also, will snow still be deep at elevation?
baseweight will be under 15lbs and I usually do 10 miles or so in the southern Appalachian mountains. you think 3.5 days is enough time? i do see that 20 miles or so are downhill if you go ccw. thoughts? thanks in advance.May 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm #1738644
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
In late July there will be a lot of snow. Hard to find trail. Maybe steep icy places where you need traction devices. Maybe need snowshoes.
Late August is about as early as most people do this.
There is a washout at Eliot Creek. The trail is officially closed there. You can cross way up high though. It's definitely an adventure. Many people would choose not to do this. I described it pretty well in my article under "places". I did it (most recently) last September.
3.5 days is probably okay, but more difficult if you try to do late July. It's 40 miles and 8000 feet gain and loss. I usually do it in 5 days, 4 nights just because I enjoy prolonging it.
You might want to keep an eye on portlandhikers.org. There will undoubtedly be trip reports when it gets closer to July.May 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm #1738726
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
+1 on Jerry's comments. I did the trail BEFORE the big washout and the Elliot crossing was hairy even then.
I'd suggest you go clockwise rather than counter-clockwise. Whichever direction you go, it's an uphill climb back to Timberline Lodge, but it's much steeper going counter-clockwise.
The main reason for suggesting clockwise is the crossing of the White River Canyon. You must experience the place to believe it. The topography of the wide canyon floor changes dramatically every year, depending on the rate of run-off. Every few years, we even regularily loose the state highway where it crosses the south end of the canyon, even despite the huge culverts. No trail markers survive. There are multiple shallow streams to wade, all unbridged, draining the mountain. It's a huge field of pumice and loose rock. You cross all this at essentially 90° to the flow. It's a slow go, but definitely not dangerous.
By going clockwise, you come downhill out of the trees and there's the canyon floor – maybe 1/3 mile wide. Maybe you're lucky and someone before you has set out cairns. However, if you look across to the other side (west), you can see the trail climbing up to Timberline. Problem solved. When I got across, I looked back from whence I had come. Even though I knew where I'd started, there was no sign of the trail, just a wall of trees, and I'd need to have left a huge mass of orange flagging tape just to be able to see where the trail was at that distance.May 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm #1738801
The washout isnt too crazy. The trail comes up to the bottom of the glacier where the river is and takes a 90deg turn left up the glacier. Then when it flattens out there is a way across. (not a trail- a way) then follow it back down the west side till the trail picks back up. (all this assuming you moving CCW)
I have not seen it other than July- sept. OBV a little more involved. I would say 1 hour out of the way (provided there are no whammies)
I bet yaktrax would do it. The actual glacier travel is only about 200 yards
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