Upper Bar Divide Falls

RATING - 54.0

VR - 6.0 (Med) HR - 7.0 SR - 12/20


DIFFICULTY - Very Difficult

LOCATION - Ptarmigan Ridge Area

TYPE - Tiered

HEIGHT - 257'

WIDTH - 20'

GPS - N48 49.489 W121 46.520


DIRECTIONS - Hike about 4.5 miles out the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail. When you come to the saddle overlooking the Sholes Basin, you should see Sholes Glacier Falls below you. Scramble down off the trail and head towards the glacier. Once you reach the ridge overlooking the toe of the glacier and the sandy basin it has left, head downhill to a view of the falls.

The creek that harbors the three Bar Divide waterfalls is unnamed but drains more than half of the water from the Sholes Glacier. After meandering through the silty ground left over by the retreating glacier, the creek encounters an andesite cliff and tumbles 257' in a series of four tiers. The first tier is 20' worth of sliding cascades. The creek then spreads out and drops 85' in a fan-shaped drop. The third tier plunges 61' and the final drop is a powerful 62' plunge, surrounded by some nice columns of bedrock. The area around the waterfall is almost completely void of vegetation, creating an lunar landscape around the falls that isn't at all unattractive.

Most likely, this waterfall is almost always partially covered with snow. Only during extremely dry summers, like the summer of 2015, will the entire waterfall be snow-free.

Upper Bar Divide Falls from the base

Upper Bar Divide Falls from Cougar Divide (notice the herd of mountain goats in the upper left?)

Left - A solitary mountain goat rests near the falls

Below - View of Upper Bar Divide Falls from the base