Many Glacier is shaped by the wind. On even the harshest days during the kind six months of the year, you only see the obliquest angle of this. In winter, it’s full bore: wind sucked down off the continental divide down three gaping drainages and blasted out onto the lakes of the main valley.
M and I got it the minute we stepped out of the car. Parked on ice, you could almost get blown off your feet putting on ski boots.
Typical winter conditions in Many involve lots of drifting. We had packed-snow sastrugi for the first part of the reservoir, until we rounded the point at caught the 60 mph gusts full force. Skiing against such a wind on bare, textured ice is not so easy, so we bailed into the road.
The going on the road was not so easy. Some bits had snow, some had ice, and some had nothing but pavement. Transitions eat time, so skiing in the ditch is often the way to go.
M hasn’t done much winter camping, and deserves a lot of credit for putting up with all this. It takes a unique attitude to get into a windy, frustrating day of travel. Fortunately the wind died with the sun, the stars were huge, and we had the Seek Outside Big Sibling stove to take the edge off the dark, and the coyotes howling to keep us company.
And scenery the next morning to investigate.
Not much like a late, winter, delicate at 10 am sunrise to enhance the feeling of being the only person on an alien planet.
The snowed in hotel added to the effect.
We had a bit of hiking on the way out, but also a screaming, wind powered ski down the ice of the lake, dodging sticky patches while hitting 10 mph just coasting during the strongest gusts.
It was awesome.