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Is June too early for upper glacier gorge (shelf/solitude/green/blue/frozen)?


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#1 rdp32

 
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Posted 21 February 2016 - 02:49 PM

Hello, I am looking for hiking/backpacking destination ideas for June (I realize that July-Sep would be better, but my brother can't come then), and was thinking of camping in Glacier Gorge and doing an itinerary something like this:

 

Day 1:  hike to GG campsite, do Shelf/Solitude

Day 2:  hike to Frozen/Blue/Green Lakes

Day 3:  hike back to trailhead, hitting sky pond on our way out (after stashing our packs)

 

We might alter the itinerary somewhat if I learn of other better options.  In any case, my main question is, is June too early for these hikes?  I've been to upper Glacier Gorge and sky pond, but never that early in the summer.  I have microspikes but my siblings do not, and would prefer to find a place where they will probably not be needed. 

 

Thanks in advance for any feedback!  


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#2 DrCloud

 
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Posted 21 February 2016 - 07:55 PM

Way up there, June is a transition month, so early June and late June differ markedly. And both, of course depend on how the spring snows and the subsequent melt go. If it were me, I'd carry traction devices like microspikes for sure, and I might be prepared for winter conditions in early June, depending on how things look at the beginning of May. HPH


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#3 piper354

 
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Posted 22 February 2016 - 07:14 AM

June 2012, no snow to be found.

 

June 2013, too much snow to get anywhere.

 

You never know. Wait until May 31st and you will know!


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#4 piper354

 
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Posted 22 February 2016 - 07:15 AM

June 2013, Timberline falls was still kinda Frozen. Wait high snow leading up to them.


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#5 rcw

 
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Posted 22 February 2016 - 05:43 PM

Your siblings can rent micro spikes from Estes Park Mountain Shop for $8 a day.


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#6 rdp32

 
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Posted 23 February 2016 - 12:36 AM

Thanks for the tip about renting microspikes!  I had no idea anyone rented those.  I'm starting to think that if I plan this for the end of the month and bring microspikes and trekking poles, it will likely work out. 


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#7 rcw

 
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Posted 23 February 2016 - 06:51 AM

You are welcome. Here is their link. http://www.estespark...hoe_rentals.htm

 

They also take the Rocky Card which is good for discounts at a number of places around town. We usually save much more than the $10 cost of the card when we come to Estes Park. http://rockycard.com/

 

 


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#8 piper354

 
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Posted 23 February 2016 - 07:13 AM

I'm not stalking you or anything, but I saw your same question on 14er's.com....Just neat to see the same people on different sites.


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#9 rdp32

 
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Posted 23 February 2016 - 02:14 PM

Yeah, 14ers.com is where I usually go with my hiking questions, but I thought I'd post this question here as well and it looks like this site is the winner! I'll have to use it more often for questions about rmnp...
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#10 piper354

 
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Posted 23 February 2016 - 03:52 PM

This forum gets a lot more traffic as the weather starts to warm up.


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#11 mirak

 
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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:48 AM

I did almost this same itinerary several years ago. It's awesome. Early June is a bad idea. Late June might be good depending upon depth of the spring snowfalls. Last year there was still a lot of snow in Late June / Early July.

 

Mid to Late July is optimum time in Glacier Gorge because the wildflowers are going bonkers.


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#12 DrCloud

 
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Posted 12 March 2016 - 10:36 AM

Mid to Late July is optimum time in Glacier Gorge because the wildflowers are going bonkers.

 

Aha! Trust a photographer to know that little tidbit. I'll add it to my memory bank.

 

So far this year, it's looking dry. But no doubt the other shoe will drop before the end of April and all the fruit tree buds will freeze off, the bluebirds will get their little butts frozen, and we'll all be buried in spring snow. HPH


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#13 mirak

 
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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:25 PM

That's typically what happens in Kansas, too - a warm spell tricks the trees and flowers and then along comes an ice storm - but it sure looks like Spring is here to stay this year. Unless the front range gets another snow dump soon, the flowers may peak in early July!


Edited by mirak, 14 March 2016 - 03:26 PM.

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#14 ProTrails

 
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Posted 16 March 2016 - 09:08 AM

Agree with everyone! Could be impassable snow, could be passable. Call the park before your trip or check back here on the forums. I'm sure someone will brave it before June anyhow!


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#15 AlexanderDelarge655321

 
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Posted 30 March 2016 - 02:38 PM

Thanks for the tip about renting microspikes!  I had no idea anyone rented those.  I'm starting to think that if I plan this for the end of the month and bring microspikes and trekking poles, it will likely work out. 

 

My wife and I used the microspikes and trekking poles last June when we hiked to Sky Pond. We never would have made it without them. Lots of snow last June. Let's hope for a June more like 2012 as I am doing Hallett's Peak for the first time at the end of June this summer. 


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#16 piper354

 
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Posted 30 March 2016 - 02:51 PM

We did Flat Top in June of 2012. Nice hike.


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#17 mirak

 
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Posted 31 March 2016 - 02:29 PM

I did the Hallett/Flattop/Andrews Glacier Loop last year in late June. Last year the snow lingered later than usual into summer, but the trail was still almost entirely clear up to Hallett at that point. So you'll likely be fine.

 

We also had no issues sliding down the glacier, but you need to be very careful to avoid the steep side! The problem was all the snow we encountered in The Gash below the tarn. That made for a precarious and tiring descent.

 

So if you plan on doing the loop, ask about conditions in The Gash before you commit yourself by sliding down the glacier!


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#18 stevenk

 
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Posted 07 April 2016 - 10:18 AM

I hiked to green, blue, & italy lakes June 23rd last year. The snow started 1/3rd mile below black lake but was packed down fine to walk over with microspikes. Did not need snowshoes on the hike. After going up the ramp above Black Lake, upper glacier gorge had patches of snow all around covering perhaps 1/4th of the ground. It wasn't too hard to walk around or over the snow. There were streams of melted snow flowing all around so expect to walk across lots of wet rock with water 1 cm deep. It was beautiful.


Edited by stevenk, 07 April 2016 - 10:21 AM.

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