Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bryant Peak - 06.16.10

Adam and I made an attempt at Bryant Peak via the "winter route."

It was cold and raining in the parking lot when we first arrived. By the time we started moving it had reduced to a drizzle and after a few minutes of hiking, it appeared to subside altogether. The first bit of the trail was mostly snow free. But then we started encountering bits of snow and the further we got the more hazardous the snow became. We saw signs of fresh snow at 3600'. Then we had to negotiate some bad moats and snow bridges as the snow was very soft and unsupportive.

By the time we were above Source Lake progress had slowed to a crawl. We were probing the whole way. Poles and axes could be driven down to the handle, but then you had to assess if it was all snow or not. I found (fell into) a few bottomless holes on the way across before Adam retook the probing lead. Things were a bit easier after we crossed the basin and headed straight up to the hanging valley. We had the outlet creek to cross, but this actually proved easier than crossing the snow covered talus field below.

Once in the hanging valley, we eyed our target gully and headed in that direction. There was an additional 3" or so of new snow to contend with on top of the gloppy old snow. Within a few steps, we were experiencing near whiteout conditions and there was a light snow falling. We wandered uphill until we were close enough to see the gully again. Then we noticed fresh wet slide activity seemingly coming from the gully area. We turned around and descended to the outlet of the hanging valley. The sun came out briefly as we had lunch sitting on our packs.

Having done all the probing work on the way in, the descent was mostly a breeze. We dodged the same moats and sketchy snow bridges and hiked out on the trail.

On the way out we saw a family of 3 wearing jeans heading up the Snow Lake Trail.

What a difference a few days make. Although the temps were high and the sun was shining, the snow pack this weekend was a much better Spring snow pack. With a few days of cold and precip, it turned into glop. At least Adam and I got some exercise.

My pics are here.

No comments: