Trip Report
Hidden Glacier
Tuesday September 25, 2018 9:24pm
In my back yard lies a remote glacier that has been on my short list to check out for a while. Everything came together a few weekends ago for a looksee when my friend Patch came up from Bozeman on a Saturday morning. We do a quick scramble to decide what gear to bring opting for a full tent as we decide we will have a base camp rather than to do a carry over. We head to the nearby trail head for an 11:30 departure. The next few miles we have both hiked so many times it is almost monotonous. We pass the miles quickly arriving at a lake in time for the afternoon thunderstorm. Wanting to camp at the higher lake we don rain jackets and keep hiking. The rain quickly transforms to hail that quickly transforms the tundra to a white landscape in the classic storm we have seen so many times before. At the next lake it takes a while to find the perfect campsite as Patch and I are very picky about our sites. Not to close to water but easy enough access with flip flops. A few trees are struggling to survive that provide minimal shelter. Our hands barely function from the icy cold as we struggle to set up the tent as it starts to rain again. We crawl in soaked and shivering. There is nothing to do except settle into our sleeping bags and warm up. An hour later the rain is done and the sun comes out again. We sit on rocks near the tent and cook dinner.
Patch brought a freeze dried meal we decide to try. It is some kind of BBQ chicken dish. When I pour the hot water over it there is a big clump of red powder that takes multiple crushes with my silver spoon to break up. After a few minutes I try a bite and say huh? We choke it down slowly as it starts to taste worse and eventually it tastes down right horrible. We are both worried about puking so we make a Top Ramen brick full of MSG broth to wash it down. It was the absolute worst freeze dried meal either of us have ever had. I should know better than to trust Patch with food. On a winter trip years ago he hands me a cliff bar that is harder than a rock. I try to take a couple of bites and finally look at the wrapper for an expiration date. The cliff bar is older than his children and before the century change if I remember correctly.

We set an alarm and tidy up camp with me making a hot water bottle to sleep with in my 40 degree bag. Patch has a new twenty degree bag and is not worried about being cold.
The alarm wakes us up to an ice covered tent. Coffee tastes good with a quick breakfast. We pack our 8 ice screws and assorted rock gear and crampons. We each bring two technical tools as we have both been on hard ice this time of year when a classic axe won’t do.

The path fades into nothing as we cross boulders into a drainage following a chain of lakes up valley. The snowfall was good last winter here so there is still a lot of snow that won’t melt this late in the year. It is nice to see for change. We climb to the last lake and find a snow field that will lead us to the pass we need to drop down to get to the glacier. The snow is so much nicer than boulders. We take a break at the top of the pass and get a good view of the climb. I try not to get too concerned from my first view as we are looking right at it and it looks steep and formable.
A thousand foot decent of soft scree leads to another snowfield were we walk out to look at the glacier towering above. It has four tongues and we glass it trying to decide which is best for an exit.
It is after 12 noon as we gear up for the climb. The left side has had a recent rock fall event so we chose the right side. We solo up firm snow to the ice and put in a screw for a belay. The ice is wildly layered and hard old dinosaur ice. I work up to a runnel that we follow for three pitches. There is a trickle of water running down that makes the picks stick like a dream in the water soaked ice. It is real ice climbing! Our hands become soaked again but we are never as cold as we were the day before trying to set up the tent. The angle tapers off and it becomes that low angle ice that is hard to climb while the sun blinds us shining between towers on the ridge above. The glacier makes a sharp crack as it releases tension somewhere deep in its bowls. An occasional rock wizzes by for spice. A 400 foot simul climb on hard snow up and across the bergschrund eventually leads to a safe belay in a moat were I finally feel comfortable taking a piss. A gust of wind comes up and blows my urine stream uphill. Patch yells ”You just pissed on my face!”. I reply with “You needed a shower anyway you smelly bastard”.
The higher we get the safer it gets in terms of rockfall.
The tongue above narrows as we follow it finding an occasional section of blue ice for screws. The last pitch of snow steepens with more ice and becomes really fun.

The last two pitches are loose rock with snow and hail covered ledges between steps. I crest the ridge with cation testing every hold. It is a stack of tipped plates ready to fall. I throw a couple down because once you touch them they will fall. As Patch comes across a traverse the rope pulls a giant block loose which Patch sends down carefully. It is impressive to watch as it disappears from view a thousand feet down. I am also keenly aware of all of the other rocks that have left gouges in the lower snowfield on their way down recently.
As Patch crests the ridge in the setting sun I shout” Hey take a look at that”. It is another climb for a later date that appears to be in condition?
Credit: Jay S

Credit: Jay S

Credit: Jay S

Credit: Jay S

Credit: Jay S

Credit: Jay S

  Trip Report Views: 1,282
Jay S
About the Author
Jay S is a mountain climber from Silver Gate, MT

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Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Sep 26, 2018 - 05:26am PT
Beautiful, thank you


Boulder climber
  Sep 26, 2018 - 05:47am PT
Nice looking country! The right side of that glacier has some nasty exposure!
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Sep 26, 2018 - 06:53am PT
You have a rather nice looking back yard there, Jay S. What a wonderful way to spend a weekend in the high country with a friend. Nice TR, thanks for posting up.


Trad climber
  Sep 26, 2018 - 06:58am PT
Ice climbing, what's that?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 26, 2018 - 07:08am PT
Sweet! I love glaciers, more backyards should have them.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Sep 26, 2018 - 03:21pm PT
We do seem to be working on making them smaller..........

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Sep 26, 2018 - 04:06pm PT
Very cool!

from out where the anecdotes roam
  Sep 26, 2018 - 05:12pm PT
thanks jay s.

four decades have passed. it shrivelled ... but aero lakes with pilot and index,
memories of alpenglow painting flowers all basking it up in gurgling burble, whooo!!!

hiked over from storm lake after n face granite to below glacier pk. dropped loads there
and beat feet for the trailhead down the west fork past mystic lake. returned from the goose lake area
to do glacier, glissaded back to camp, then lumped the whole caboodle up hidden.

spoze there's any hoppers left in the grasshopper glacier?

biblical level beauty out that way
Jay S

Mountain climber
Silver Gate, Mt
Author's Reply  Sep 26, 2018 - 05:17pm PT
Grasshopper glacier is basically gone now. It just shrank dramatically the last 15 years. When I first saw it in the early nineties it was still impressive. Hidden seams to be hanging in there however.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Oct 23, 2018 - 04:53pm PT
Nice little slice of life! Receding glaciers aren't so nice.

Social climber
  Oct 23, 2018 - 08:21pm PT
Nice Jay!

Hidden Glacier is between Mt Villard and Glacier Peak. <br/>
Aero Lake is ...
Hidden Glacier is between Mt Villard and Glacier Peak.
Aero Lake is where the Mt Villard name tag is.
Goose Lake is the red marker.
Credit: i-b-goB

Aero Lake is the red marker, Hidden Glacier is just above the marker. ...
Aero Lake is the red marker, Hidden Glacier is just above the marker.
Mystic Lake is at the top above Tempest Mountain.
Credit: i-b-goB

Aero Lake is the red marker, Hidden Glacier is just in front and right...
Aero Lake is the red marker, Hidden Glacier is just in front and right of the lake.
Credit: i-b-goB

ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
  Oct 23, 2018 - 11:29pm PT
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Oct 24, 2018 - 07:56am PT
There seems to be a back country rule that it will rain when you're trying to set up your tent, and then it clears up when you're done.

I like snow too rather than talus. That's why I love the early summer.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Oct 24, 2018 - 09:34am PT
There are still some that are hard to hide.
Credit: donini
Looking down
Credit: donini
Looking up...goes for miles both ways.
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