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Sperry Glacier

 2 votes

Length

3.3 Miles 5.3 Kilometers

79%

Runnable

Elevation

1,667' 508 m

Ascent

-103' -31 m

Descent

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

36%

Max Grade (20°)

8,008' 2,441 m

High

6,424' 1,958 m

Low

Conditions


Unknown

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Great alpine trail up through rock ledges, past waterfalls and blue lakes onto a glacier.

Jake Bramante

Overview

Ice and snow at the headwall below Comeau Pass can make getting up to the pass dangerous. Access to the trailhead is open year round with winter travel very dangerous due to avalanches.
Features: Birding — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

Runner Notes

Footing is great until Comeau Pass where the travel becomes snow year round.

Description

This trail peels off of the Gunsight Pass Trail just below the Sperry Chalet. It traverses a great bowl surrounded by rocks that are layered red, brown, and gray. As you traverse, water falls down the rock walls with the largest one, the beautiful Akaiyan Falls serving as the notification that you're about to climb.

From here, the trail switchbacks up the rocks to get up on the rock headwall. Once up on top of this wall, you make your way through a hall of erratics carried by the glacier and randomly set like a giant chess board in mid-play. The trail crosses over the outlet of Feather Woman Lake which keeps ice in it most of summer. Its beauty in on display as you gain elevation to the west of it with great vantages looking down.

All around you are distressed rock walls telling the geologic story of massive uplift evident in Edwards Mountain and Gunsight Mountain. This trail continues up towards another headwall and Comeau Pass.

Before you get there, you pass Akaiyan Lake, another lake similar to Feather Woman Lake. Once past that lake, you skirt the cliff above the lake, then begin to switchback up to the pass.

Once at the headwall, you come to the notch carved out with a wonderful staircase and a cable handrail put in years ago to accommodate climbers up to the glacier. Once up at Comeau Pass, panoramic views are stunning. Rocky peaks stand tall in all directions. The Flathead Valley and civilization is visible from the pass, but turn around towards the glacier and snow, ice, rocks and small tarns or ponds in colors of emerald and turquoise that sit in the basins below the glaciers.

Look out for the mountain goats in this area as they have been a bit habituated to people and can be a bit aggressive.

From here, the "trail" is a series of cairns with signs on them. You reach them by crossing over the snowfields. At the end of these crossings, you can look up towards the glacier and see crevasses, blue ice, and other such classic glacier features. Sperry Glacier and its basin feed Avalanche Lake and is the source of many of the waterfalls at the head of the lake.

This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to run.

Flora & Fauna

Alpine flowers such as beargrass, and spiraea change to short, alpine flowers such as sky-pilot in the rocky sections. Mountain goats are very common as are marmots, and a variety of squirrels and chipmunks. This area is also popular with grizzlies and the lucky visitor may spy a wolverine.

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Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes

#425

Overall
  5.0 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#16

in Montana

#425

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1,003 Since Sep 2, 2015
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