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| |-+  December 2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  December 3-4, 2011 Hidden Lake Peaks
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Author Topic: December 3-4, 2011 Hidden Lake Peaks  (Read 3663 times)
WillderDude
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December 3-4, 2011 Hidden Lake Peaks
« on: 12/04/11, 07:35 PM »

Headed up on Sat Dec 3rd to get to Hidden Lake Lookout near NCNP.  We opted to park at about 2500' on the Sibley Creek Road due to snow and ice on the road; others did the same.

There were SIX other people with the same idea of heading up to the Lookout, so we eventually opted to dig a snowcave in a 12' snowdrift just below the Lookout to avoid overcrowding it.  The snowcave was awesome and we enjoyed a beautiful night out.

Ski conditions can best be described as highly variable.  The snow in the forest down low was pencil hardness and made for difficult skinning.  Crossing the big slide path in the East Fork of Sibley creek was difficult in boots without crampons- the bed surface was quite icy in places.  The entire west-facing slope of the Hidden Lake Peaks ridge was pretty wind hammered, with small pockets of powder in places but mostly breakable crust, windslab, and ice.  It was definitely survival skiing pretty much all the way down.

We didn't dig a pit (saved the digging for the snow cave!) but saw no recent avalanche activity.  There were big wet slides that ran to the ground on S to SW aspects from 4800-5600 Ft.  They are at least a couple days old at this point.  There were some minor glide cracks at the same elevation/ aspect as well.  We didn't observe any RECENT avy activity up high or any signs of instability on W/NW aspects between 5500-7000 feet.

A worthwhile tour for the views and adventure of sleeping in a snow cave, but the ski conditions left something to be desired.


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altasnob
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Posts: 300


Re: December 3-4, 2011 Hidden Lake Peaks
« Reply #1 on: 12/05/11, 07:45 AM »

Wow, maybe it's time for an online reservation system like they use for some of the huts in Canada.
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Jakes_thread
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Posts: 13


Re: December 3-4, 2011 Hidden Lake Peaks
« Reply #2 on: 12/05/11, 08:22 AM »

Wow, maybe it's time for an online reservation system like they use for some of the huts in Canada.
PLEASE... don't suggest another reservation system!!  If the hut is full then dig a snowcave as these folks did, or head back by moonlight.  The safest thing is to never depend on the hut to be available.  Sorry for the rant.  Looks like a fun trip, with a surprising number of people getting out. 
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