Tyndall Glacier, RMNP - September 10,
(During a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, following a 3-day backpacking trip)
Then on the following day, I wanted to hike up flattop mountain and go to Tyndall Glacier and ascend Hallett Peak. Owen said his legs were too sore and he didn't want to hike uphill. So, we got up at 5:00 and began to watch the weather. It was rainy but looked like it might be clearing. The forecast called for scattered showers. (What's new?)
So, anyway, I decided to go ahead. I was going to climb, Owen was going to hike around the base of the mountain and go to Bear Lake and the other lakes in the area.
Once above tree line, I was struck with how really neat and pretty it is up there. Being used to hiking in a forest, it was a new experience to be able to look around and literally see for miles. Then conditions began to worsen. The clouds rolled in and visibility dropped to about 50 feet. I finally reached the top of Flattop Mountain after 4.4 miles and 3 hours of hiking. The wind was unbelievable! It was blowing so very strong it would almost stop you in your tracks. I huddled down behind a cairn and made a video entry about being atop the continental divide. Then I was just able to make out the trail going toward Tyndall Glacier so I proceeded that direction. I was just about to turn back when I barely saw a sign. I made my way to it and scraped off the rime ice, it read "Tyndall Glacier Steep Snowbank Extremely Dangerous".
I had found the glacier. I walked over to the ridge and there it was. But, it was so foggy/cloudy that I couldn't see all of it. I made my way down the ridge across the rocks and stepped out on it. That was a neat feeling. It was much nicer below the ridge out of the wind. I stayed there for a while and made some video entries and ate a little lunch. Then I heard it thunder and it began to snow, but not regular snow, snow "pellets" which when driven by the severe wind, kinda hurt when they hit exposed skin. Well, thunder means lightning and a mountaintop is the wrong place to be for that so I headed back. A short time after I got off the top, it cleared to my left, but where I had been was still socked in. I had a pleasant hike back and the weather improved for the rest of the day.
I was gone 7 hours and 45 minutes, an hour and a quarter less than I had told Owen. I was to meet him at 4:00 and got back at 2:45. He too came back early and I didn't have to wait but about 10 minutes. I told him "I felt like I had been to another world". It was so different up there than down where we were.
Home Page Rainier Page Photo Gallery Trip Reports Rockets Quotes
Copyright © Ron Burkett 1998 All rights reserved