Grand Teton's Moose Basin: Glacier Peak, Talus Lake, Doane Peak, Ranger Peak. Part 1

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Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Back in 2008, a backcountry ranger in Grand Teton National Park told me about an area in the park's northern section, Moose Basin. He said the mountains, lakes, and scenery around the basin, and south to Paintbrush Canyon, was spectacular country. And there were no trails through there. He marked some places on my map, notably Glacier Peak and the lakes below it, and labeled it as his favorite area in the park. He said I would probably see grizzly bears, I wouldn't see any people, and I would be blown away by the scenery.
He was right.

On June 30th, 2013, I set out on a 5 day backpacking trip to finally explore this area. Here is my route:
http://caltopo.com/map?id=0C1G

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DAY 1 ROUTE
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I started from Grassy Lake road just north of the park boundary, and headed south along the Glades Creek Trail. I had pretty views as I hiked through open meadows, and made my way towards Berry Creek.
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I had a late start, and didn't set up camp until after dark. There was plenty of grizzly scat the entire hike in, as well as recent diggings. I decided to set my tent up in the trees, in some downfall. Sometime during the night, I awoke to the ground vibrations of footsteps. Something walked right up to my tent. I could here it breathing. It was so dark, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. And then it got completely quiet.

You know how when you walk past a tree or bush, sometimes a branch catches onto your clothing. It stays attached as you keep moving, until eventually releasing, bouncing back into it's normal position. It whips in the air a few times, making a Boing, Boing, Boing sound reel fast. Well, that's the noise that broke the silence, as something moved around outside my tent. Then more silence. A few more branches broke over the next 5 minutes, each time in a different spot. I can't say for sure what it was, but it sure made for an exciting night.

My tent the next morning, surrounded by downfall.
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The meadows near where I was camped:
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DAY 2 ROUTE
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I packed up camp and headed on towards Berry Creek, and it's beautiful open meadows:
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I dropped down to a backcountry patrol cabin, and then started hiking up the trail towards Forellen Pass.
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The Forellen Trail starts off steeply in the woods, before reaching more open meadows:
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I started seeing recent bear tracks, and not long after taking this next picture a bear crashed off along the other side of the meadow.
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Soon I was at the pass. From the pass, I hiked off trail cross country over to Moose Basin Divide. The map doesn't show a trail, but an unmaintained trail does exist. Its easy to find in several places. The trick is to stay high as you head south, even though it looks easier at first to stay lower.
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A lanky grizzly bear ran across the draw I was hiking through a few hundred feet ahead of me. I didn't get a picture, but this was the area:
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I started getting into some snow, as I climbed higher. The views got better and better:
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Looking up towards Moose Basin Divide:
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Looking back out at the Owl Creek Drainage. There is a trail that comes up this drainage, the Owl Creek Trail. It stays to the right side of the canyon. The pass I came from is to the left side of the pictures:
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Finally I reached the divide, and had my first views of Moose Basin:
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When you look in this next picture, you see a snow covered ridge on the right side, it looks almost flat. Above that, a larger mountain rises up. That mountain is Glacier Peak (to the right of the bowl). That's where I head to the next day. You can also see Mt Moran to the left, and the Grand Teton peaking it's head out in the center of the picture:
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There is a trail at the divide, but it goes down Webb Canyon to the east.
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I was headed south. I started working my way down into Moose Basin to find a camp for the night.
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Looking back where I came from, the divide is to the right:
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Looking back at Elk Mountain/Owl Peak, the divide is to the far left:
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Moose Basin:
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I set my tent up in a strand of trees, and had some beautiful light hit the mountains:
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DAY 3 ROUTE
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Day 3. Wow was Moose Basin Beautiful:
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Looking down the basin, and down Webb Canyon, with Jackson Lake visible in the distance:
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Looking south:
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I walked up a snow ramp to reach the park's boundary, and the Wyoming/Idaho state border:
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Looking into the Idaho side:
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Looking down on Camp Lake in Idaho:
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Looking back at Moose Basin Divide:
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And now back at Moose Basin and Webb Canyon:
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Here is a good shot of Glacier Peak. It's the large hump higher than everything else. I'm heading through this scene, around the flat ridge, and then up to the top of the mountain:
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Lots of snow along the way, but it wasn't very difficult .
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My first view of the Upper Glacier Lake. It's still mostly frozen over:
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Looking up at Glacier Peak:
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Working my way up to the top. Nothing more than a scramble:
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My first view of the Lower Glacier Lake:
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As I neared the top I caught my first good view of the Grand Teton:
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At the top views were spectacular:
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After sitting at the top for awhile, it was time to head down to the lakes:
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Looking down at the Lower Glacier Lake:
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Looking over at the upper lake:
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Upper Glacier Lake:
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A couple of notes here. It was hard to get a good picture of the lake because the sun was shining directly into the view. Also, my camera at the time didn't work well. It was a cheap camera anyways, but the back screen was broken, so I had no way to see what I was shooting.

At the time of me writing this, my avatar is of me at this same lake, but taken on a trip in July of 2014


More to come, including Talus Lake, and views from the top of Doane and Ranger Peaks.
Part 2 can be read here: http://backcountrypost.com/threads/grand-tetons-moose-basin-glacier-peak-talus-lake-doane-peak-ranger-peak-part-2.4284/

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Parma

@parma26
.
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
685
Sweet trip!
Couple questions...
What food did you take for this trip in thick bear country?
I also take it that you used a bear canister? What kind?
What permits did you need, if any?
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,289
Almost started there on our Teton traverse trip, but would have gone on up Berry to Jackass Pass instead. I am ready for another trip in there .....
You are killing it in pictures Joey :)
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
What food did you take for this trip in thick bear country?
I generally take the same kinds of food as I normally do, except that I leave out messy/smelly stuff. Especially when I'm alone. Mountain house meals and other dehydrated meals are cleaner. You are less likely to get food scents and oils on yourself, and don't have to clean your pot. Another concern is trying to fit my food inside my canister. I usually bring stuff like fruit loops or granola, and pour it in my canister on top of everything, shake it up, and that way I have extra calories that fit in there

I also take it that you used a bear canister? What kind?
I used the Bear Vault. The park makes you bring one. They have the Garcia model bear canisters, which they will let you use for free if you don't have one. But I like the Bear Vault. I do believe they allow a Urasak, and technically they don't allow the bearikades. But I've never seen them actually check the canister to make sure its one of their approved ones.

What permits did you need, if any?
You have to have a permit if your going to camp in the park. Park service now charges a fee for backcountry permits. It's $25, regardless of how many people or nights. For this area of the park, you won't have any problems getting a permit. Very few people go out there, and the ones that do generally stay along the trailed route that goes up Owl Creek, over the divide, and down Webb Canyon. You can camp in Idaho for free, and there are some spectacular spots along the border.


I'll tell you a funny story about my first night on this trip. First, there was a lot of grizzly scat along the trail. Several piles were not baked/crusted over on the top, despite the fact it was really sunny and no clouds were in the sky. The digging were pretty recent. It was obvious bears were using the area frequently. I was hoping to get away from it all before setting up camp. But I ran out of time. There was a lot of bear sign in the meadows where I camped, which is why I went up in the trees a ways, and put my tent in downfall.
I wasn't hungry that night, and didn't eat dinner. I wasn't able to fit all my food into my bear canister. I took the canister to the opposite side of the small meadow, into the woods a bit, and left a bag of trail mix and an apple on top of it. After having something large come around my tent in the night, I thought for sure my canister was going to be messed with. But my apple and trail mix where still there when I retrieved it.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,289
I always like to take tuna and coconut hand lotion ......
Then I put next to somebody elses tent......................... :rolleyes:

Just remember picture first then bear spray .................
 

John Goering

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
412
Actually Joey initially had the proper bear defense technique. You just get the rest of the party really tired. Only need to run faster than the slowest person, 5yds or a 100.
 

scatman

Member
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Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,262
Thanks for taking us along to the north end of the Tetons. It's beautiful country once again! All these trip reports are starting to give me spring fever a couple of months early. It's tough knowing I won't be heading back out until the summer.
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
395
I'm waiting for the rest of the report. So far much of this looks like a trip I did there this past July, @Joey .

That's great stuff and I always look forward to your reports. You are well spoken and present yourself well. Your video's are top notch. Do you do speaking engagements around the country? Are you friends with....never mind
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
Great pics and report Joey. Crazy to see a frozen lake in early July.

All these trip reports are starting to give me spring fever a couple of months early. It's tough knowing I won't be heading back out until the summer.
Just curious, are the Uintas not really hikeable in the winter? I noticed there haven't been any winter TR's from there except for skiing. I was really hoping to see some winter pics/reports from some of the spots I saw in the fall.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Messages
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Nick

Spiral out.
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Joined
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The Wasatch gets a lot more action in the winter because most of the roads stay open so you can get into it pretty easily and not too far from the population centers. The main highway into the HIgh Uintas is closed for winter plus there is the hour+ drive from SLC, so it get a lot less attention from hikers. The closed road is pretty popular with snowmobiles though. There are also a handful of yurts up there that get a bit of snowshoe/ski traffic in the winter, many of which are low on the north slope, toward Evanston, Wyoming.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,289
I'm waiting for the rest of the report. So far much of this looks like a trip I did there this past July, @Joey .

That's great stuff and I always look forward to your reports. You are well spoken and present yourself well. Your video's are top notch. Do you do speaking engagements around the country? Are you friends with....never mind
Joey would probably have to kill you if you actually mentioned names ...... :facepalm:
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,289
I love your reports, but they don't help my fear of backpacking in Grizz country... just need to put on my big boy pants (maybe invite my slow friends) and do it sometime!
Pack depends ..................... :confused:
 

yoseman

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
9
I generally take the same kinds of food as I normally do, except that I leave out messy/smelly stuff. Especially when I'm alone. Mountain house meals and other dehydrated meals are cleaner. You are less likely to get food scents and oils on yourself, and don't have to clean your pot. Another concern is trying to fit my food inside my canister. I usually bring stuff like fruit loops or granola, and pour it in my canister on top of everything, shake it up, and that way I have extra calories that fit in there


I used the Bear Vault. The park makes you bring one. They have the Garcia model bear canisters, which they will let you use for free if you don't have one. But I like the Bear Vault. I do believe they allow a Urasak, and technically they don't allow the bearikades. But I've never seen them actually check the canister to make sure its one of their approved ones.


You have to have a permit if your going to camp in the park. Park service now charges a fee for backcountry permits. It's $25, regardless of how many people or nights. For this area of the park, you won't have any problems getting a permit. Very few people go out there, and the ones that do generally stay along the trailed route that goes up Owl Creek, over the divide, and down Webb Canyon. You can camp in Idaho for free, and there are some spectacular spots along the border.


I'll tell you a funny story about my first night on this trip. First, there was a lot of grizzly scat along the trail. Several piles were not baked/crusted over on the top, despite the fact it was really sunny and no clouds were in the sky. The digging were pretty recent. It was obvious bears were using the area frequently. I was hoping to get away from it all before setting up camp. But I ran out of time. There was a lot of bear sign in the meadows where I camped, which is why I went up in the trees a ways, and put my tent in downfall.
I wasn't hungry that night, and didn't eat dinner. I wasn't able to fit all my food into my bear canister. I took the canister to the opposite side of the small meadow, into the woods a bit, and left a bag of trail mix and an apple on top of it. After having something large come around my tent in the night, I thought for sure my canister was going to be messed with. But my apple and trail mix where still there when I retrieved it.
Love this TR....REALLY LOVE pouring Fruit Loops in your canister, I have to use that one!
 

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