2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – August 2009

Rip & Go: Spider Glacier - Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA

Stroll through wildflower-filled meadows to a frozen slice of the Cascade Range.

by: Shannon Davis & Quincy Moore

Spider Meadow (Alan Bauer)
Spider Meadow (Alan Bauer)
Ratsack Cache Bag (Courtesy photo)
Ratsack Cache Bag (Courtesy photo)
Western Tanager (Michael H. Francis)
Western Tanager (Michael H. Francis)

Take it With You
Download a printable PDF of this entire weekend.

GPS-Enabled Trip Report
See this trip on a map, download it to your phone, GPS, or computer, and more.

Key Gear
Rodent-proof food bag

This section of trail teems with chipmunks, squirrels, and hoary marmots, according to local rangers. The rodents are fun to watch but are known to wreak havoc, targeting campsites for food and scraps. Even hanging your fare isn't foolproof. Empty your pack and unzip all zippers to keep marmots or chipmunks from chewing through the material, and don't bring any food into your tent. Package all food, cooking gear, and scented items like toothpaste and chapstick in a bear canister if you have one (they're not required here), or a chew-proof stuffsack like a Ratsack Cache Bag ($30-$40, "Squirrels and mice try–and quickly fail–to chew through the steel mesh," says Maine reader Kathy Landry. "I've used mine on weeklong trips in the most rodent-infested shelters along the Appalachian Trail–with no breaches."

See This
Western Tanager
Consider yourself lucky to spot this stunning–yet shy–red-and-yellow songbird, which often perches on the edges of Spider Meadow. Its coloration comes from a diet of plant-eating insects. The bird then converts pigments from the vegetation. This tanager breeds farther north than any other member of its mostly tropical family. Got an iPhone? Get the iBird Explorer Western App ($10, to play its call and lure one in.

Camp Chat
See that summit to the south with the huge crater? That's 8,365-foot Mt. St. Helens, the liveliest of Washington's five active volcanoes. In the most destructive volcanic event in recorded U.S. history, it famously erupted nearly 30 years ago, killing 57 people, destroying 250 homes, burying 185 miles of highway, and reducing the peak's elevation by 1,312 feet. According to local Native American legend, the two sons of Tyhee Saghalie, the chief of all gods, both fell in love with the beautiful maiden Loowit. They fought so viciously over her that they created what is now the Columbia Gorge. As punishment, Saghalie turned all three of them into mountains. Loowit became Mt. St. Helens. Discuss: Would you live within 50 miles of this fuming, love-torn peak?

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

What sleeping pad are you using?
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: Blazer
Trailhead Register
Elephant Coffee, Anyone?
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: big_load
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions