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| |-+  December 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  8 dec, 2013: hidden lake campout
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Author Topic: 8 dec, 2013: hidden lake campout  (Read 2886 times)

Posts: 113

8 dec, 2013: hidden lake campout
« on: 12/10/13, 10:07 AM »

back in late october, i was getting restless.  the storm at the beginning of the month had awakened my hunger for snow, but winter was still a dream.  so i went out for a hike seeking inspiration, which i found (along with a hungry-looking black bear).

this was my first look at hidden lake.  and i promised myself i'd be back soon... with my board.

it didn't take long.  last friday, as i was lamenting the teleconference that had kept me out of the snow for the day, i got word of a party that was making the trip.  the howling wind and frigid temps had me a little dubious, but my desire to camp in the lookout was strong...

with an early departure and some deft driving, 5 of us piled out of the subaru at the trailhead in time to watch the sunrise.

our plan of "skinning from the car" didn't last very long, though.

the approach consisted of a fun mixture of sun crust, ice, and wind transported snow of varying breakability.  often, the full spectrum could be experienced within a few steps.

speaking of breakability, morgan's ski pole fell victim to the 5th class skin track bushwhack early in the climb, but he soldiered on with only a slight reduction in speed.

the fantastic clear skies came at a frosty price, one that had us skinning in down jackets.

rob enjoys the warm sunshine.  oh wait, strike that warm part...

having seen very little in the way of ridable snow throughout most of the approach, we were relieved and excited to find much better conditions as we traversed the eastern face of hidden lake's south peak.

group shot on the south summit.  not too bad for a rock and a pack as a tripod.

as the late afternoon alpenglow enveloped the lookout, we began to settle in, unpack, and of course take pictures like crazy.

not content to just photograph the evening snow, morgan and i decided to take a run down towards the lake.  the snow was mostly cold, sugary, and fun, with a few patches of heavily wind affected conditions.  it was a fun, steep run, and we made it just past the first bench before our line cliffed out and we decided to turn around before we needed headlamps.

the amazing alpenglow was fading into an epic sunset as we transitioned.

with a bit of icy traversing, we were able to skin right back to the lookout door just as the last of the light faded.

while we were out enjoying the snow and sunset, a group of 4 on snowshoes had arrived at the lookout and were deploying every down layer for warmth.

there was just barely room for everyone to cook dinner.

some faint northern lights were visible in the night sky, but without a tripod, i was helpless to capture any proof.  so i took in the views, finished my whiskey, and joined the pile of down and people.

the next morning dawned clear and cold, with the surprise addition of two more friends who had arrived in the middle of the night.  we headed back to the only good snow we knew of--the run down to the lake.

some turns were made...

some spills were taken...

and we found a way down through the cliff band that had stopped us the prior evening.

there really is nothing quite like a sunny winter day in the north cascades!

checking out our tracks on the way back to the lookout.

the tool collection at the lookout was put to good use for an extemporaneous pole repair.

most of the group sensibly decided to retrace our approach route, but morgan and i decided to traverse the steep, rocky entrance to the hard creek drainage in order to gain entrance to this north facing line we'd seen on the approach.  thanks to rob for the photo of us in the notch.

the snow was great.... in places.  and pretty icy and chunky in others.

we opted for a direct descent to the trailhead instead of following the summer trail.  this yielded some fun turns in the upper trees, which slowly gave way to, well, just what we were expecting.

i'm happy to report that in addition to some good turns, we enjoyed great views, a superlative sunset, good company, and best of all, no serious cases of frostbite (yeah, i left my TLT5s at home for this trip!).

Posts: 498

Re: 8 dec, 2013: hidden lake campout
« Reply #1 on: 12/10/13, 11:05 AM »

That looks sooooo fun!  What an amazing place.  Perfect clear and cold weather.  Best in the north cascades!  Nice pictures and great write up  Grin

Posts: 153

Re: 8 dec, 2013: hidden lake campout
« Reply #2 on: 12/10/13, 01:20 PM »


I woulda much rather been doing that, than cleaning and unpacking...


Posts: 110

Re: 8 dec, 2013: hidden lake campout
« Reply #3 on: 12/12/13, 12:02 PM »

I admire your enthusiasm and I'm loving the crash gif, classic!
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