Beta in pictures mostly. You can get the rest elsewhere.
Sunday morning we parked at McDonald Lodge and were all ready with our sign for hitchhiking. Right on cue Ted swung by and we got a ride up to Logan Pass in high style.
Start off walking to Hidden Lake. Continue along the south shore fisherman’s trail, which is really good and obvious. Before the lake bends south, pick a clear line and gain 3-400 vertical. Swing around towards the nose, and gain a few hundred more (we found a really good bear trail).
M on the bear trail, near the top of the second ascent. The trail levels out and side hills steeply for a short stretch before exiting out onto a nice alpine bench. From the bench, the path up to the low point of the ridge is obvious. This first stretch is likely the route finding crux, and picking the obvious line of least resistance seems to work well.
The view of Avalanche Lake, and across to Sperry and Comeau Pass, are huge.
You have to drop through the krumholtz off the ridge, but there are very good animal trails and if you ever feel like you’re honestly brush-bashing you went wrong.
The bulk of this descent is on grass tufts and thigh-punishing steep. I suspect the reason this hike has the reputation it does it not due to the off trail nav, which is only 6-7 miles of 20, but to several strenuous sections which, like this one, would not be kind to poorly training and overly civilized joints.
We took the standard, most-obvious route up to the glacial plain itself. Once in the basin, we eschewed the typical and most efficient route of staying up against the glacier in favor of a beeline across the rock ridges and snowfields in the center. More up and down, but better views and greater interest.
A short jaunt up some snow, quite safe without spikes of any kind in late summer conditions, and we rejoined the trail.
All that’s left is 10 miles and 4800′ of descent. Like hiking the Bright Angel down to the river.
It’s a walk well worth doing. M was unimpressed, but that’s just because I spoiled her so thoroughly with Utah canyons. The final 5 miles may be rather treeish, but the whole experience is really quite good.