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Maurice

Timberline Trail with family

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Just wondering if anyone has been on the Timberline Trail recently. We're taking our boys up with us, 11 and 13, and are concerned about the river crossings. Going next weekend.

Thanks.

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Just did some recon for an around the mtn run this weekend. I checked out from Timberline lodge clockwise to Heather Canyon, counter clockwise to Zigzag Canyon and from Cloud Cap Inn across the Eliot.

 

After the White River crossing (easy) on the east side, a higher switch back has slid away with a land slide. The trail basically seems to end but if you go straight up thru the trees for 30' you will find the trail again.

 

The Eliot is a bit trickier. From the Cooper Spur shelter (east side) one can find a trail heading towards the Eliot Canyon. It will intersect a trail that comes up along the east side of the canyon rim from Cloud Cap. You will find a massive carin at about 6850' on the east rim trail. This marks a good descent trail into the Eliot creek basin. Once inthe basin traverse across angling up towards snow fields in the north west corner of the upper basin. They can be ascended to gain the top of the west side of the canyon. If these are melted out gaining the west canyon rim can be difficult. I aided a thru hiker by just ascending the west canyon slope at 6850' ON THE west side but it was 2 steps up and 1 back on the scree slopes. Not fun.

 

Alternatively I also scoped out the lower crossing at saw a hand line tied off to a big boulder on the west canyon wall down around 5900 or so. Signs say the trail is closed but some folks are taking this lwr crossing.

 

Best of luck!

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...The Eliot is a bit trickier. From the Cooper Spur shelter (east side) one can find a trail heading towards the Eliot Canyon. It will intersect a trail that comes up along the east side of the canyon rim from Cloud Cap. You will find a massive carin at about 6850' on the east rim trail. This marks a good descent trail into the Eliot creek basin. Once inthe basin traverse across angling up towards snow fields in the north west corner of the upper basin. They can be ascended to gain the top of the west side of the canyon. If these are melted out gaining the west canyon rim can be difficult. I aided a thru hiker by just ascending the west canyon slope at 6850' ON THE west side but it was 2 steps up and 1 back on the scree slopes. Not fun.

 

Alternatively I also scoped out the lower crossing at saw a hand line tied off to a big boulder on the west canyon wall down around 5900 or so. Signs say the trail is closed but some folks are taking this lwr crossing.

 

I recommend staying high. Trying to cross low is very hazardous. If you are coming from the NW stay high (cross just below the lower ice fall of the Elliot and watch out for rockfall)or you will not be able to see the faint trail that goes up the SE side of the creek basin. If you miss that trail you are in for a scary scramble up some awfully unstable talus. Follow the trail up to the old stone shelter cabin then continue past to the south to intersect with the Timberline trail.

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Thanks for the input. I think we will go counter-clockwise. If we are concerned once we reach Eliot then it is easy to turn around and head back out... we'd prefer no scary scrambles with the kids:)

 

pcg- are you saying that we wouldn't actually be crossing on the glacier but just below it? I have heard of a number of people taking that high crossing on the glacier and that there's a lot of debris. We should hit that fairly early in the morning on Saturday if that helps with melt.

 

Mr. Gecko- thanks for the update on the White River crossing and trail!

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Yes, there is lots of debris and lots of rockfall. Also, the whole area in the foreground in the photo below that appears to be endless piles of gravel is actually still on the glacier. You are reminded of that when you come across holes like the one shown. Small river way down at the bottom of those holes this time of year...

 

P9280086.JPG

P9280031.JPG

 

If I were going around the mountain CCW I would cross below the icefall and climb up on Snowdome and then go down Langille Glacier and hit the Timberline trail. Note: I have never done this, but that is what I would try. There may be obstacles lower on the Langille that would give you trouble, but I doubt it. I'd prefer that to trying to climb up that steep unstable talus on the north side of the moraine. I think that is truly dangerous. However, that means you cross early in the morning, as you mentioned, to avoid rock and ice fall and it also requires axe and crampons as there are places you can slip and slide into a crevasse if you go that route.

 

Unfortunately, this really isn't a place for small children.

Edited by pcg

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Printing up your suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to respond. We'll play it safe. I'll let you know how it goes.

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