Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lundin Peak - West Ridge - 05.22.10

Planned this return to Lundin Peak a while ago. The weather was looking not to cooperate, but everyone wanted to go anyway if just to check it out. So despite the 60% chance of precip, we headed out.

The trail head parking lot isn't melted out yet, so we drove up the road about 100m and parked. We were pretty much on snow from the cars, but there were some bare patches in the woods. The snow was fairly firm as long as we kept to where people had been compacting it all winter. At least when we set out, it was not raining.

Further on in the woods, we were following wayward snowshoe tracks of a few men who were headed up Red Mountain. We go back on the "trail" and had to do a few interesting stream crossings as some snow bridges were either sketchy or non-existent. We eventually reached a spot to cross Commonwealth Creek and did a short down climb into the creek bed. Crossing was on logs and stones that were barely out of the water. Then a climb back up the other side to where we traversed into the upper Commonwealth Basin. Around this time, there were some sucker holes and we caught a glimpse of Kendall and the backside of Guye, as well as Cave Ridge. However, we were headed into a cloud in our direction of travel.

Tyler took the lead making steps into what was now about knee deep snow. (There was 6-8" of fresh snow above 5000'.) We followed up and headed to the base of the descent before traversing under the south face to a low area on the ridge. Around this time it started to snow. It was Noon, and Zach was interested in making a go of it. But the snowy icy rock did not look appealing. I told him I was calling it and that we should just eat lunch and head back down. Zach wanted a look at the route. So he scrambled onto the ridge and found there to be too much snow. Sal and I joined him and found the same thing. While on the ridge, the sun poked through the clouds and illuminated the basin on the other side of the peak briefly. Then it returned to snowing.

By the time we had finished eating lunch, the clouds rolled in again and we had to make our way back down in very low visibility conditions. The skies really started clearing up once we were in the lower basin, and we had sun for a good portion of the hike out.

This was a fun trip to get out when the weather was not so great. It was amazing to see all the fresh snow high up for this late in May. Sometimes the weather just does not cooperate with my plans. But due to the lower temps, we never really got wet as the precip that fell on us was in a frozen form.

My pics are here.
Sal's pics here.

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