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  • Writer's pictureJoel Anderson


Avalanche Lake is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier National Park. It's short(2 miles), little elevation gain(~400') and deposits you into a beautiful cirque of Glacier Park scenery. Winter time is a little different though. The road is open until it snows enough that it's not worth it for the Park to plow the six miles from Lake MacDonald Lodge to the trailhead. Once you're on the trail you start to debate putting crampons on as the packed snow and freeze thaw cycles turn portions of the trail into a luge course. All of that is rewarded with some of the finest multipitch ice climbing in the country.

After 4 miles of walking and a few hundred feet of easy ice steps on the approach, Jason and I were at the base of Memorandum 3.5 hours after leaving the car.

The ice was in great shape and we were able to move through four pitches of climbing before hitting our turnaround time. We happily retreated feeling fulfilled and tired. Arrived at the car just after I turned the headlamp on and we still had plenty of time for beer and a burger at Backslope Brewing.

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