Friday, March 16, 2007

How's Barr Trail?

Christian Murdock and I were just talking about this, and now Neal and Teresa write from Barr Camp...

If you're headed up this weekend, read on and be prepared. Conditions will change frequently based on the amount of sunshine we get and the temperature. Assume nothing!

Barr Camp has had 154 inches of snow thus far and there is still a lot of snow above No-Name. A step off the trail finds you hip deep in a lot of places!

Trail conditions as of Friday, March 16:

The first three miles of Barr Trail mostly clear of snow/ice and the trail is dry.

The next three miles to Barr Camp are mostly snow covered. The snow has been well packed and if the conditions are cold enough, one is able to stay on top of the 2+ feet of snow covering the trail with minimal “post-holing.” If it is real cold, a glaze of ice can be expected in areas. If the snow is sun drenched or warm, there will be a lot of possible post-holing stretches. The trip back through this area often finds warmer temps and slushy conditions. Expect wet feet!

(Christian notes it was a bit icy Monday in the cave. And the trail was slushy. Heed that note about wet feet!)

From Barr Camp to timber line, the trail is similar to below camp, But if the snow is soft and you slip, your downhill foot will go off the trail and throw your balance off. Post-holing is possible in the exposed areas, and the snow is “sugary” and hard to get any traction in.

The trail disappears and tracks have been made willy-nilly about 1/3 mile below the timberline and A-Frame Shelter. If you have not been on the trail above this point, it is easy to follow tracks that head off in various wrong directions, thus losing time and energy.

The trail above timberline is obvious in some areas; deeply buried in others. The top section - “the 16 Golden Stairs” - is very hard to find and full of deep snow.

Additionally, the crust on the snow is hard enough to scrape/cut your skin if you break through it. This is true on the entire trail.

Happy and Safe Trails!

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