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Houdini Needles from Bill Putnam Hut (Fairy Meadows)
Timestamp Free: 2019.10.14 - 04:05:56
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Selkirk Mountains / Big Bend Ranges / Adamant Range
  (3 days)     Elevation Gain: 1700m
Participants: Natalie O.
Difficulty: 3: Tough trail in spots, glacier travel (was bare for me), and scrambling to a moderate Class 3
Hiked Swan Ck trail, stayed at Bill Putnam Hut near Fairy Meadows for 2 nights. Failure crossing glacier to Cycle Pk and successful scramble of Houdini Needles.
I'd read the bulletins about the road access and trail work updates for the Swan Ck Trail earlier in the year and decided to make it a priority, not knowing if the brushing work would be a regular occurrence or not.

We had trouble finding the trailhead, but I helped make the parking spot more obvious with rocks and ribbon. We walked up a road a ways, before finding a downed trailhead sign, where we bore left onto an older road. And from there, the trail eventually exits to the right and continues on. There's a part where avalanches have eroded the bank and make for a tricky spot, but that was the only real difficulty, aside from the length and elevation gain. There was also one other spot further up with some exposure, but this could be detoured around with a short bushwhack. My trail bulletins mention all this in better detail. Unfortunately I forgot to turn my gps back on at one point, so there's a chunk of the waypoints missing where I updated the trail gps. I think it took us 8hrs (incl. breaks) at a slowish pace on the way up. Which easily knocked a few hours off of the time taken by previous groups before the trail had been brushed.

[photo]logcross.jpg[caption]Crossing a large log.[/photo]

[photo]slidepath.jpg[caption]Looking down at the creek from along the slide path (snow and debris covered in Sept)[/photo]

[photo]steeptrail.jpg[caption]The very short exposed bit of the trail. We were on our way out in this photo.[/photo]

There was no one at the hut and the guestbook suggested we were the sixth group to visit this summer, though that included helicopter groups. We loved the hut, best I've been to, perhaps. Sauna was excellent.

I went for a walk above the hut onto a morraine in the evening (not shown in waypoints), but otherwise no further...

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