McNeil Point July 22, 2022

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squidvicious
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Joined: May 11th, 2015, 8:41 pm
Location: Troutdale

McNeil Point July 22, 2022

Post by squidvicious » July 22nd, 2022, 3:41 pm

I've been hearing some really varying reports of snow conditions, so I decided to check it out for myself. The other reason I wanted to get it in today, is there are signs up warning they're starting a paving project on Lolo Pass Rd next week, and it will probably be pain to get there then. Heads up.

The road to Top Spur TH seemed pretty much the same as last year--not great, but no terrible new problems, and fine with basic caution. Context: I'm in a Ford Focus. I don't think I got there until about 10am, but there were still parking spots available. I only passed a handful of people on the trail on my way out, although many many more on the way back.

The trail was in great condition, with very little blow down. It's been almost a year to the day since I was last there, and what a change! The north side of the loop around Bald Mountain (which I took on my return leg) hadn't been cleared then. Now it looks like a tree graveyard in places, but the trail is good. Impressive work.

Snow appeared sooner than I expected, as I came up to the junction for the scramble trail. Patches, but decent-sized. But there were well-worn, well-gritted paths across, and they were easy to walk on. If there was any issue it was to do with too little snow, in that they were melting enough to leave some bits unstable or overly slushy and slippery.

The tarns were snowy, which was pretty cool. I don't know if I've ever seen the first one actually filled with water before.

At the junction with the Mazama trail is where I hit the first solid snowfield. Initially no problem, as there was a clear boot trail to follow, but about halfway between the Mazama trail junction and the junction with the re-route/old closed trail through the meadow, it suddenly seemed like there were trails going every which way. Worn paths in the snow, wide official-looking dirt trails showing through melted out areas, clear dirt trails that might just have been boot paths... They seemed to be headed everywhere except where I expected the trail to be. This was the only really confusing part of the hike, and I wasn't the only one tripped up there. I'm really trying to remember what that looks like without the snow. Surely I'd remember a spot with paths shooting off every which way?

I wound up pushing on over seemingly untrodden snow along where I figured the trail ought to be, and fortunately as soon as I could see over a little rise I picked up the proper trail again. Headed snow-free up through the reroute switchbacks, and hit another solid snow field at the Timberline - McNeil junction. Solid snow until you got up into the trees, and for some reason there was not one consolidated line that everyone was walking, so it was pretty loose and extra slippery through there.

Beyond that it was pretty familiar early season conditions kind of stuff, snow where you're used to seeing snow, but a bit more of it. No problem to walk across, well-worn paths, etc. There was no snow at all around the shelter or the whole lower area on McNeil Point.

Bug weren't a big issue. I sprayed down with picaridin at the car, and probably should have reapplied at some point but didn't bother. I think I picked up a couple fresh bites, but mostly wasn't even thinking about bugs.

Last minute decision to head out there this morning, and no regrets. Perfect weather for it.

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Waffle Stomper
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: McNeil Point July 22, 2022

Post by Waffle Stomper » July 25th, 2022, 2:21 pm

Any flowers at Bald Mountain?
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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adamschneider
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Re: McNeil Point July 22, 2022

Post by adamschneider » July 25th, 2022, 4:04 pm

Waffle Stomper wrote:
July 25th, 2022, 2:21 pm
Any flowers at Bald Mountain?
Yes.

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Waffle Stomper
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: McNeil Point July 22, 2022

Post by Waffle Stomper » July 28th, 2022, 5:55 pm

adamschneider wrote:
July 25th, 2022, 4:04 pm
Waffle Stomper wrote:
July 25th, 2022, 2:21 pm
Any flowers at Bald Mountain?
Yes.
Hope I can make before they all wilt.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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