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Mt Washburn hike, early June

San Jose, California
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Mt Washburn hike, early June

Hi. I was curious if anyone knows what the snow conditions are expected to be like in early June??

Also, I read on the Yellowstone site that the Washburn area is restricted without special permits until July due to the bear restrictions I think. Does this apply only to backpackers or also for hikers???

Thanks for the help! Super excited for the trip!

San Jose, California
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1. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

I had hoped someone would have some more experience with this hike early in the season!!!

In case anyone else is interested in this hike, I figured I would post what I have found out thus far...

I have gotten a reply from NPS and they stated that there is still snow (which I expected). Their recommendation was to try to head up Chittenden Road on foot. I know they are currently plowing the road. Regarding the hiking restrictions I mentioned above, NPS said when the road is open to reach the Mt Washburn trailhead (Canyon to Tower) there is no restriction to hiking the trail. Hiking off trail is prohibited at certain times of year in that area.

Does anyone know how this would compare to the Dunraven approach in June? From the webcams on Mt. Washburn, it looks snow covered, but sparse in some areas and possibly passible with good boots and trekking poles.

I guess my main questions is, do people typically get to the summit this early in the year or should I scrap the idea?

Hopefully someone out there has my answers! Thanks for taking the time in advance.

Burlington, Iowa...
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2. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

I don't remember exactly when I went, probably July, but there were spots of snow going up the dunraven side. Some were scary, very slippery although I didn't have poles. Another poster, denalicat said she hiked it on June 16th and said it was challenging. If you want to go, I would go up using chittenden road.

Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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3. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

Mt Washburn from Dunraven side on June 29, 2010 (not an especially high snow year)

The scariest part of the trail- it was hard enough going up over this section, coming back down of it scared the #@~* out of me. There was no trail edge....the edge of the snow was a 200 foot drop-off.

…photobucket.com/albums/…DSCN0400.jpg

Some of the other snow-covered sections. There were some snowbanks where I broke through and sank down to my butt in the snow. I was worried about twisting my knee or ankle a couple of times.

…photobucket.com/albums/…DSCN0376.jpg

…photobucket.com/albums/…DSCN0369.jpg

…photobucket.com/albums/…DSCN0402.jpg

Deb

Driggs, Idaho
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for Grand Teton National Park
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4. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

Wow Deb! That first photo scared me lol. I remember going up a trail in GTNP in early June and slipping off something like that! Lucky I was able to self arrest but it took a long 30 minutes to inch back up on my back a short 7 feet to the trail. Did you climb to the top of the snow bridge or try to travel across the fall line?

San Jose, California
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5. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

Thanks for the pictures (Deb) and tips! I truly appreciate you taking the time, as this is information that I can't seem to find anywhere else.

Looks intimidating, but I think we may attempt from the Chittenden Road side because I know it will be worth it if we can make it. We can always turn around if it gets too bad, I love an adventure! When we return I will post some pics and our results!

Billings, Montana
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6. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

BlueBird....we walked along the top part of the snow bank next to the rocks. There was a path about 8 inches wide to walk on. The part at the bottom edge of the snow bank where the rocks are in the middle of the picture had maybe a couple of inches of bare dirt/loose rocks with the 200 foot drop-off. There was no way I was going to try that way. I wanted to hug that rock cliff all the way going across.

It was the scariest thing I had ever done. We hiked across some pretty scary snow bridges (we had to step across some holes that you could see 5 feet below to the running water) in Glacier Park two summers ago but there was only one that rivaled how scared I was in the first picture above.

If we hike it on our June trip this year, I will have my ice-spikes and my hiking sticks in my backpack.

Deb

Billings, Montana
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7. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

Roxy.....the Chittenden side will not have the steep snow banks with drop-offs like the Dunraven side has. You follow a road that they use to drive up to the fire lookout. I've never hiked it but from what I understand there is not the steep drop-offs like the Dunraven side. Be aware of bears in the area while you are hiking. I've seen a few on the steep open ridge right above the road between where the fire lookout road starts and the Chittenden pullout about a mile down the road towards Dunraven Pass.

My grandson and I will be in Yellowstone June 12-17th for our annual June camping trip. We haven't been up to Washburn since 2010. The last two years we haven't been able to hike it due to snow. In 2011, you couldn't even access the Dunraven trailhead parking lot due to record snow that year. I've been checking the webcam since it came back online and hoping that it will be good enough for us to try it this year.

Deb

Edited: 22 May 2013, 03:13
San Jose, California
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8. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

Deb,

Thanks again, we are just going to miss you guys, we will be there the week prior. We will also have bear spray...was gonna do one can for the two of us, but from everything I am reading we may take one each just to be safe. If I get a chance to get online before you go, I will message you how it went!

Yellowstone Nat...
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9. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

<< what the snow conditions are expected to be like in early June?? >>

White and slippery.

Be safe. There are more than 2.2 million acres in YNP, and every one of them would be a delightful place to hike. Choose a safe place. No point in one-upsmanshipping anyone. (BTW, the Chittenden side of Washburn is as pretty in its own way as the other side).

One can of bear spray for two hikers would do, because you stay together when you hike safely.

ENJOY!

San Jose, California
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10. Re: Mt Washburn hike, early June

Thanks Bill~ great point. I am so excited and can't wait to see how beautiful it is!