Outdoors

Avalanche damage extensive to Glacier's Sperry Chalet

The Sperry Chalet, one of two built in the early 1900s to provide a unique visitor experience in the high backcountry of Glacier National Park. (Associated Press)
The Sperry Chalet, one of two built in the early 1900s to provide a unique visitor experience in the high backcountry of Glacier National Park. (Associated Press)

NATIONAL PARKS — A century-old rock chalet in Glacier National Park that was damaged by a winter avalanche may be open for only a few weeks this summer after crews working to ready the backcountry hotel for the tourist season found additional damage to the two-story lodging and its kitchen building.

The Missoulian reports that workers giving the buildings a more thorough inspection have found damage to the roofs and rafters from the heavy snow load this winter.

In a post on the chalet's web site Thursday, chalet coordinator Kevin Warrington said repair crews will need complete access to the hotel for much of July as well as in late August and September.

Sperry Chalet's season was scheduled to begin July 8, but all reservations are being cancelled through July 19. Reservations in September and some in the last week of August also are being canceled.

Read on for details.

Sperry Chalet was built in 1913 and 1914 by Great Northern Railway magnate James Hill and his son Louis and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Officials believe the avalanche hit in mid-January.

Granite Park Chalet, built by the railway in 1914 and 1915, is scheduled to open Saturday, despite snow cover as deep as 12 feet around the lodging. A group of staffers and volunteers shoveled snow for a total of 250 hours over the past 10 days to provide access to the chalet and its adjacent guest building.

Those with reservations must be prepared to hike through snow to access the chalet the first few weeks of the season and hiking beyond the lodging may not be possible.

The chalet was struck by an avalanche once before in 1957.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

By Rich Landers richl@spokesman.com (509) 459-5508


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