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Sat, Oct 1 2011 - McDonald Peak (View Original Event Details)

Coordinator(s): Bill Krause
Participants:Rod Graham, Caitlin Hunt, Don Arthur, Linda Soper, Frank Wesolovski, Bill Krause, Brian Kennedy

Write Up:
McDonald Peak – October 1-2, 2011 Coordinator: Bill Krause Hoping for Indian summer weather conditions, seven GMS members left the Glacier Lake trailhead (4,900 feet) shortly before 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 1. We reached the end of the official trail at Heart Lake in balmy conditions. The sky was a mix of sun and clouds. These conditions persisted throughout the weekend. A climber’s path continues around the north end of Heart Lake, crosses the inlet in a heavily wooded and boggy area on the western side of the lake before heading due west to the Post Creek Divide at approximately 7,400 feet. The path climbs through forested slopes and along a rocky spur just north of Island Lake. Traversing high above an unnamed lake (6,730 feet) deposited us in the beautiful, wildflower-filled bowl below the pass. At the pass, a sign tells the climber you have arrived at the boundary of the Special Grizzly Bear Conservation Zone of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Human entry is restricted and requires a Flathead tribal conservation permit and camping stamp. A steep 600-foot descent brought us to a beautiful camp at Cliff Lake just west of the outlet stream. Our camp was placed in a beautiful meadow with wooded slopes. Linda Soper and Rod Graham made a speedy ascent of Panoramic Peak. The rest of us relaxed and enjoyed several hours next to the inviting flames of a well-stoked campfire. We retired to our sleeping bags shortly after dark. Cloudy weather had moved in and a rain shower or two fell during the night. We awoke in absolute darkness to prepare our breakfast and make our climbing packs. Following the onset of daylight, we left camp just after 7 a.m. The immediate goal was the inlet stream to the western arm of Cliff Lake. From here, we climbed 2,000 vertical feet up the prominent gully to the saddle overlooking McDonald Glacier. With ice axe and crampons, we crossed the glacier with a final steep pitch to the northwest ridge of McDonald. The summit was reached one hour later, approximately 3 ˝ hours after leaving camp. Summiteers included Don Arthur, Caitlin Caltabiano, Rod Graham, Brian Kennedy, Linda Soper and Frank Wesolovski. The descent was made down the southern slopes to the Ashley Creek divide, thence to Iceflow Lake and down the outlet stream draining into Cliff Lake. The circumambulation and ascent took six hours. Camp was broken and we reversed the approach. The weather improved throughout the day. By the time we ascended the Post Creek Divide, bright sunshine prevailed. We arrived at the cars at dusk. The weather had indeed cooperated. The first October snow fell within twenty-four hours.

Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Tim Anderson at Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.

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