Glacier Lake to Marion Lake
We wake at upper Glacier Lake, then work our way down by the lower lake. From there we drop dramatically down to Glacier Valley. Roper advises us to stay left to avoid a cliff, which we heed, if only to be polite. We follow various ramps in the lodgepole pines. I think a ramp just means angled ground not quite as nasty as a cliff. It seems everything takes longer than it should.
We make our way to States Lake, where we see plenty of mule deer and delicious looking trout. There is a social trail to Horseshoe Lakes, which makes the travel and route finding quite easy.
At Gray Pass, I mess up. Gaining elevation is so difficult that I am very reluctant to give it up, which it turns out is not always a great idea. After walking high around a massive cliff, I cannot imagine that the pass we are aiming for is now below us. Luckily I have brought my son, who is more than willing to remind me of my mistakes. How else will I learn? Even with my blundering, we make it down to the top by noon.
From Gray Pass to White Pass requires a long steep down, and an even longer steep up. Exhausted, we make it to the top by 3:00pm.
To get from White Pass to Red Pass, Roper advises we climb even higher, then traverse across and down towards Red Pass. It is a long tedious down through miserable talus. We then climb up the last bit, arriving by 3:30pm.
From Red Pass we can see our evening’s goal, Marion Lake. Again, we plod down through loose talus. On the way we encounter extremely tame (borderline annoying) grouse, obviously on the wrong pass. Kevin and I both slip several times during our descent. Kevin rips his pants. We follow Roper’s advice and descend the left chute, which is surprisingly steep but doable as long as you’re willing to be part of a rock slide. I played the part of a rolling stone. The end of the chute looks like it drops you directly into the water, which Kevin proclaims less than ideal. It turns out there is a tiny ledge trail around the lake. We arrive at Marion Lake by 5:00pm. We pitch tents, filter water, and make mashed potato and tuna wraps.
Another father and son team arrive behind us and setup camp. They are also attempting the SHR, but have only allocated 12 days. We feel pushed trying it in 20. We wish them well, and doubt we will see them again.
Tomorrow is Frozen Lake Pass, one of the more difficult of the trip.