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| | |-+  Lichtenwasser Lk & Union, March 4-5, 2017
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Author Topic: Lichtenwasser Lk & Union, March 4-5, 2017  (Read 1673 times)

Posts: 124

Lichtenwasser Lk & Union, March 4-5, 2017
« on: 03/05/17, 10:30 PM »

These were two one day trips, FYI. 

Lichtenwasser North, March 4

We started from Smithbrook pullout around 9:30 with no plan. We knew what the options were and decided to start making decisions at the first hairpin about 45 minutes down the road. There must have been a snowmachine rally since we got passed by about 2 dozen before reaching the hairpin, the most we've ever seen here. I'm not entirely sure where snowmachines are allowed to go around here but we ran into a friend at the end of the day who said one was in the trees south of "Rainy Pass" amidst the skiers. Seems like poor form. I also noticed a sign on the ridge of Jove a few weeks ago marking the NFS boundary and stating no motorized vehicle access beyond this point. Hmmm...? The engine noise became too annoying that we knew we needed to get away from Main St. Our plan now was going to Lichtenwasser Lake. Crossing Smithbrook Creek is trivial right now - many options exist.

Unfortunately, no one had gone up yet and we had to break trail. Snow depth ranged from 6" to 2' depending on what was overhead, slope angle, and elevation. We reached the outlet around noon and stopped for lunch. While we were eating, a group of 4 arrived on the ridge just above the north shore and continued heading up. From the outlet we observed multiple crowns along the east and north facing slopes, mostly where the terrain steepened after a rollover or below ridgeline. We decided the open semi alpine terrain was probably not a great idea and we would hook in to the other party's skin track and explore the East Ridge running from the Lichtenberg summit. After some time we discovered a driver's license and a secondary plan was set in motion. We eventually caught up to the group as they were skiing down and re-united the owner with their license. By the way, if anyone's ever in Flapjack Lake area, there's a goat there with mine, keep an eye out.

At this point in the day, the sun was frequently out and solar aspects were already crusting up when shaded. Bummer. But shaded aspects were still holding up great. So we followed the group of 4 down N aspects to the drainage between Lichtenberg and McCausland, eventually crossing our route with Kenji to McCausland a few years prior. Caution must be exercised going down this slope as it is littered with cliffs, steep chutes, and rollovers, but is also glazed and treed. About halfway down to Main St, the turns basically run out and it's more of a traverse back. We decided to end the day a little early and were back to car shortly after 4.

Lichtenwasser Lake

On the ridge

Ski photos

Turn series, one...



Another turn, one...



Union West, March 5

Today we had a plan and that was to ski the north side of Union, following the tour we did years ago with Kenji, Sally, and David. We made it up to the meadow just south of Union Gap by noon, noting a track heading in the direction of the west slopes of Union. Although telemetry reported 4" new snow at the pass, it seemed like maybe 7-8" new here. Unfortunately, the track turned out to be a ski track and we'd have to break a trail up the west slopes of Union. The trailbreaking was quite a bit more work today than the previous day. I was totally gased when we reached the summit shortly after 2pm. We abandoned the idea of skiing the north side since it meant additional trailbreaking back to the Union-Jove saddle. Instead we skied the prominent open slope and glades directly west of the summit back to the meadow. Stability was great and the crust wasn't too bad so the skiing was ok. It was just after 3pm when we hit the skin track and decided we'd better go back up for another run. After reaching ridgeline, we transitioned and worked our way down through the trees and linking up various glades. The snow under the trees was nice and soft and some parts of each glade also had soft snow.  We were back on Main St by 5pm with a super quiet surroundings. Back at the pullout by 5:30pm, only our car remained. Good times.

Heading up Union

Trees along the ridge


John Morrow

Posts: 573

Re: Lichtenwasser Lk & Union, March 4-5, 2017
« Reply #1 on: 03/06/17, 05:57 AM »

Hello Radka,
Did you think the crowns were from Friday?  When we saw them from the lake yesterday we opted not to go to either summit either.  Your skin track was mostly snowed in but very helpful once we joined it at the lake.  Our second run up McCausland was hard work breaking trail.  I've never seen so many or such deep snowmobile moguls on the Smithbrook Road.  That explains it.  It really should be non-motorized only and I really am disappointed to see the increase in snomo use over the past 7 to 10 years.  Especially since they willfully and knowingly poach wilderness in that nice north bowl of Jove.
Thanks for the assistance!

* IMG_9616_1280x768.JPG (116.83 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 808 times.)
« Last Edit: 03/06/17, 06:53 AM by John Morrow » Logged

Posts: 124

Re: Lichtenwasser Lk & Union, March 4-5, 2017
« Reply #2 on: 03/06/17, 09:02 AM »

Hi John,

Yes, we think those crowns were from Friday. We skied those slopes a year ago, but stayed away from them on Saturday.

There is already a discussion on snomos on Smithbrook on NW Hikers:

They were the worst I have ever seen on that road. They passed us at high speed, one guy jumped a boulder with his machine right in front of us, they revved their engines near us, polluted the whole area with noise and exhaust for miles and miles for dozens of people recreating using their own power. I will never understand.
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