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| | |-+  December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
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Author Topic: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs  (Read 2710 times)
Charlie Hagedorn
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December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« on: 12/28/12, 01:49 PM »

Just before Christmas, Susan and I bailed from a planned trip to Canada in order to spend more time skiing/relaxing, and less time driving.  As part of the plan, we considered an overnight trip at Snoqualmie. Worked out well.

The settling snow made for excellent travel and ski conditions as we went from Source Lake to Snow Lake, met 8-10 people we knew, then carried on to Lower Wildcat Lake. We dumped our tent/gear, then headed Upper Wildcat Lake with the remaining ~2 hours of daylight.  Once there, we got lucky and found a way up to the ridge to the north of the lake. The ski home was fun, and we spent the next hours setting up camp.

Atop what I'll call Wildcat Ridge, we'd both looked down toward Derrick Lake and hoped to make a visit the next morning. Perusing maps in the long night, it looked like we might be able to enchain Caroline Lake, Hatchet Lake, and Derrick Lake in one smooth glide.  The snow seemed best on sheltered slopes below 5.5k, so summits held little draw. A morning conference made that the plan.

As it turns out, Wildcat Ridge is bumpy, the meadows above Hatchet Lake are full of Volkswagen-sized boulders (not just the Beetle, there are more than a few Westfalias), and the creek that flows into Derrick Lake from the S proved uncrossable except at its head, so the loop took longer than expected. Each lake required a skins on/off cycle. The skiing between Caroline and Hatchet was excellent, mixing steep terrain with thoughtful routefinding.

From the top of Wildcat Ridge, the return to our Lower Wildcat camp was fast (Susan was right; the North side of the creek is where it's at), and the skin up the Roosevelt Divide slower. Dropping off the divide to Snow Lake was awesome, best turns of the year, and we had overnight packs. Occasional whiteouts kept the lake traverse fun, and we crested the Snow Lake Divide as the sun set and the moon rose. More excellent snow and the luge track took us to Alpental and beyond, then Susan skated the road back to the WAC cabin for the car.

Susan broke nearly all the trail; the second day's loop would've taken much longer to complete without all her work.

Kenji's been asking about lake conditions: We didn't fall into any lakes. Derrick Lake was the only spooky one, with even our ski tracks getting soggy after half a minute. Each lake had a Snow/Ice/Water/Ice sandwich, with the upper ice being supportable, even to moderate poling. Even with a lot of jabbing, I never got a pole through the lower ice layer. It felt burly. The water layer ranged from 3-6" in depth.  Open water at inlets and outlets of some lakes, as often happens.

This tour is a nifty overnight step up from the likes of a Chair Peak loop. The skiing's more challenging, routefinding experience is required, and it's significantly more remote. Once you're way back there, there's a lot to do.

Far better pictures, and a map, are on Susan's Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/susanashlock/sets/72157632354200210/


* returningToLowerWildcatCamp.jpg (144 KB, 600x800 - viewed 798 times.)

* ReturnToSnowLake.jpg (171.18 KB, 700x499 - viewed 791 times.)
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Pete A
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #1 on: 12/28/12, 02:16 PM »

cool trip.   the terrain around Mt.Caroline and Preacher Mtn is a lot fun...been six years or so since a whole gaggle of us TAY'ers spent a couple weekends exploring back there...definitely some interesting skiing to be had.   

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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #2 on: 12/28/12, 02:21 PM »

cool trip.   the terrain around Mt.Caroline and Preacher Mtn is a lot fun...been six years or so since a whole gaggle of us TAY'ers spent a couple weekends exploring back there...definitely some interesting skiing to be had.   

I remembered the TR, that helped pull us toward Preacher. Nifty (and stout!) lines you guys skied.
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AlpineRose
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #3 on: 12/28/12, 02:46 PM »

Great trip report.  Thanks.
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trees4me
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #4 on: 12/28/12, 02:52 PM »

Beautiful terrain and trip.  That's a lot of ground to cover in 2 very short winter days!  I've long wanted to get back there to camp and explore for a few days, so many cool lines in there

Thanks for the TR and pics
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chill people, skiing is fun
RyanPete81
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #5 on: 12/28/12, 04:17 PM »

I love this area, great trip report!
We covered some of this terrain in a day trip variation of the Chair-Roosevelt figure 8 last April. Good to hear it's already in good shape, can't wait to get back there.
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Susan Ashlock
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #6 on: 12/28/12, 10:51 PM »

I was a little surprised that we didn't see a single human track (snowshoe or ski) north of Roosevelt.  We had sweet waterfront property all to ourselves!

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the moon over Alpental -- that was one of my favorite parts of the trip!
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dennyt
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #7 on: 12/29/12, 08:15 AM »

An inspiring trip report!  Thanks for the tip, we took your advice on our 3rd lap of the day and enjoyed it greatly.  I still have the gift you left on my car at the TH - we might consume it tomorrow night in a tent!
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alecapone
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Re: December 23-24, 2012, Snoqualmie Tour du Lacs
« Reply #8 on: 12/29/12, 10:24 AM »

Very nice you two!

sounds like a great trip.
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scott
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