Posted by Matthew Du Puy, 06-28-04
We did the mountaineering route this weekend, camping at Iceberg Lake, and had one of the best hikes I've ever done.

I've posted more photos (151 in all) detailing the route and hopefully making a mediocre photo guide. We got started a little after 7AM Saturday on a clear day and made Iceberg Lake by 2PM. Thanks to a buddy's description and the info on this message board, we made the trip without a hitch. We saw some people bushwhacking on the wrong side of Clyde meadow so we left a few more markers near where the route crosses the stream above LBSL and goes up the slabs.

As some other friendly hikers reported, it had been sprinkling every day around 5:00PM at Iceberg lake and clearing within an hour. Sure enough, we got about a half an hour of very light snow about that time and took the opportunity to take a nap before cooking dinner under a clear sky.

The next morning, the rest of the lake had frozen over but it was easy to crack through for water. It was around 33 degrees but quickly warmed up when the sun hit, the rest of the day was perfectly clear but it was quite windy heading up to the notch as expected. We summited in a couple of hours by going up to the left of the two snow chutes, then taking the scree field up to the notch. No special equipment was needed but I'd recommend poles. Also at the advice of the store's manager and our great neighbors at the lake who summited just a little before us, we took the first chute up from the notch rather than the third which has been recommended as the easiest. There was some ice and snow in the middle but starting on the left side of the chute then crossing over to the right ridge about halfway up worked well. I was expecting a much more technical climb but the boulders were quite easy to cling to and no tricky maneuvers were needed to cruise up this class 3-4 route. We were pleasantly surprised as we popped up right below the toilet and the hut.

We climbed down the same route but headed for the longer of the two snow chutes near the lake. By that time, the snow was very soft and we had a wonderful time glissading down on shoe and rear. One of the guys with nylon pants really had to dig his heals and arms in to stop at the bottom but the slope slows down before the snow gets patchy and rocks become a concern. Great fun was had by all!
We packed up camp at Iceberg and hiked out around 5 hours with a nice long rest at LBSL. We were pretty tired when we got down the ledges but the idea of warm showers and Mexican food kept us cranking along and we were out by 6 PM.

Here are my pictures (thumbnails and lower resolution for the web), I'll continue adding pictures to this web page as my other hiking companions upload their pictures to me:

I have our pictures online at full resolution (4MP), feel free to email me if you'd like that URL.

I'm leaving for Tanzania in two weeks to walk up a little 19,340' volcano, hopefully this was a good break in. Thanks to everyone on the board for their trip reports and pictures! And best of luck to our neighbors who will be backpacking in Glacier for their 1st anniversary!

Posted by Yeep, 06-28-04

Your photos are excellent and will help me in a couple of weeks when I attempt the MR. Thanks much and good luck in Tanzania!

Posted 06-30-04
Thank you for the pictures, they should be quite useful. What did you use to put them online? What do you think would be a reasonable amount of time to hike to Ice Berg lake with a heavy pack?

Posted by BeachAV8R, 06-30-04
Wow..another set of outstanding pictures! I love reading and clicking through these trip reports. I keep transplanting myself into the photos imagining how it will be in October..hehe..

Great shots..thanks so much for sharing them!

Posted by Richard C. Ashcraft, 06-30-04
Great photos. The lake with no name between UBSL and Iceberg is sometimes called Barney lake. Bob R. Recently referred to it as Girl Scout Lake.

Posted by Matthew Du Puy, 07-01-04
Haha, that is great! Girl Scout Lake it is. =)

My brother heard 8 hours as a good time to make Iceberg lake, fully loaded. Of course our group was pleased when we made it in 7. We didn't push especially hard because my brother and I are prone to altitude headaches going up 4k' in one day but we're all in shape. Kevin, who has never been backpacking before, is a distance runner and kicked our butts up the hill!

Glad to share the picts, hope they help. The quick and dirty thumb-nailing, scaling and commenting of pictures is done with iPhoto (very easy to export web pages). All of us used a Canon digital elph (S230s and S400s), very rugged, compact and feature packed. Mine have been through Central American caves and European adventures; I upgraded to the 400 for Africa.

Posted by BeachAV8R, 07-01-04
One more question..again I'm curious about the traverse at the Notch. This picture:

It appears to me that you can downclimb below the snowfields and have a pretty safe traverse avoiding the ice and that true? And around the corner there I assume the traverse continues until you hit the lower, sloping backside of the mountain where you hit the main trail is that correct? Is there ice/snow on that backside? Just trying to get a mental image of decision of traversing or going straight up the chute... smile

Thanks..awesome pictures..

Posted by TomC, 07-01-04
That picture is called the "easy Traverse" Later in the summer when the snow melts you can usually climb around the snow fields. It goes straight back until you reach the gradually sloping hill just west of Mt. Whitney. Once there just walk east until you get to the hut. The regular trail doesn't go that far west, but the walking is easy on the whole top (as big as many football fields) Most do not go that way because it can be dangerous if you fall down the snowfields toward the cliffs below & it is quite a ways further (like an extra 15-30 minutes)

If you have the ability to climb up to the notch, you should have no trouble with the first chute (staircase) to the top. For example look at photo 76 (the first 500 feet above Iceberg lake) or photo 85. There is some climbing before you get to the notch. Just start on the left, climb up 50-200 feet and then cross over to the right side. Climb to the top from there. Even if the snowfield on the top middle is still there you can go around it by crossing to the right side. If it is more melted you can climb all the way to the top on the left side and cross over just before the summit.

Posted by BeachAV8R, 07-01-04
Sounds good...I definitely think I am going to prefer climbing straight up the chute to to the girlfriend thinks it looks awfully steep smile I think it looks exciting! Hehe..


Posted by Matthew Du Puy, 07-01-04
I say we skipped the traverse because I was intending to do the third chute since I was told it was the easiest and the first would be hard. After getting up there and looking at the first chute, I thought it looked easy enough. I'll echo TomC's statment, if you made it past the Ebersbacher ledges and to the notch, that chute isn't more difficult (I thought it was the best part of the climb but I lack a fear of heights that others might have).

You could probably climb down and around the snow (as I suggested to our hiker who didn't like heights) but it is VERY loose scree and pretty steep.
It'd probably be better to cross the snow at that point since it had softened in the sun. Ultimately it depends on your comfort with heights but I'm guessing you're not too chicken if you want to do this route.

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