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| |-+  May 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP
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Author Topic: May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP  (Read 2313 times)
AndyMartin
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May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP
« on: 05/27/13, 05:08 PM »

The annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to Steamboat Prow took place in unusual conditions this year. A busted forecast changed from partly sunny to consistent drizzle, rain and snow for practically the whole day. Despite the overcast the green housing on Interglacier was so intense that I still managed to achieve major sunburn, with never a view of the sun!
After a cool bear encounter about a mile and a half in we booted up the trail, crossing the usual mixture of deep snow drifts and bare wet trail until about a half mile before the Interfork stream crossing. Despite considerably less snow than last year there were several viable crossings which should be good for a while. Above Glacier meadows the climb was the usual long, switch-backing slog in 8-12 inches of fairly new and totally saturated snow. The drizzle turned to snow at about 7,000 feet but the heat was intense, giving the curious sensation of skinning through a sauna with snow falling.
There were plenty of wet slides visible from Mt Ruth and St Elmo’s pass, but a course up the center on the lowest angled slopes seemed safe enough. The top 1,500 feet of skiing was in a vertigo-inducing whiteout, but the visibility slowly improved as the snow got deeper and stickier. The last 1,000 feet was a straight-line fight between suction and gravity, which gravity just barely won.
There is still plenty of coverage on the route and a couple of real freeze-thaw cycles would drastically improve conditions. Still, this is always a rewarding and tough route with a bit of everything!


* Bear_on_Glacier_Basin_Trail.jpg (65.76 KB, 442x336 - viewed 1212 times.)

* Snowing_on_Interglacier.jpg (37.43 KB, 448x336 - viewed 1194 times.)

* At_the_Prow.jpg (40.18 KB, 336x448 - viewed 1195 times.)
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gmark
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Re: May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP
« Reply #1 on: 05/27/13, 08:46 PM »

Hey, we're the ones you saw up top of Steamboat. Too bad to hear the ski visibility wasn't much better for you than it was for us a bit later.
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AndyMartin
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Posts: 144


Re: May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP
« Reply #2 on: 05/28/13, 07:57 PM »

Thanks for the photos!
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ND
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Posts: 113


Re: May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP
« Reply #3 on: 05/28/13, 09:59 PM »

Was there much mud on the approach? Trail runner appropriate or should the real boots come out?
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AndyMartin
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Posts: 144


Re: May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP
« Reply #4 on: 05/29/13, 10:26 AM »

We used trail shoes for about an hour. Lots of bare trail early on the south-facing slope, then long snow covered sections with interruptions of bare trail from 50 to a few hundered feet long. Personally I prefer to boot it further in trail shoes until the snow is continuous and just deal with the weight of the pack.
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ND
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Re: May 26, Steamboat Prow, MRNP
« Reply #5 on: 05/29/13, 01:05 PM »

DOH! I was not clear at all there, I meant trail runners vs. hiking boots for the approach, not AT boots.  My trail runners are pretty open mesh and not so fond of the mud
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