Forum Index » Post-Trip Reports » Glacier Divide Loop ~ Piute Pass, Alpine Col, Lamarck Col


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Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: An excellent adventure on 04/03/2013 22:50:44 MDT Print View

Thanks Paul for the info about the use trail vs the Grass Lake drainage. I can see how bush whacking down that drainage with no snow could become a suffer fest.

I misread your original post Tom, I thought you were talking about just the begining of the trek down the east side. Internet senior moment (wait, I'm only 44).

Finding a way down from the ridge to the south of Upper Lamarck Lake was a real challenge.

I followed the top of the ridge from west to east until it droped off. From there I couldn't see a way down the north or east sides so I climbed down the south side to get a look at the eastern edge. It looked like the use trail was covered with steep precarious snow chutes, but I could see a way down by scrambling along the large boulders at the top then down the east side and over to the next ridge (which would lead to the switchbacks at the bottom). There was a cornice between the two ridges but it was the only way I could find.

So I climbed back up to the top and started climbing within the large boulders toward the east. From there I made a big mistake. I thought the large steep partially snow covered boulder field at the top of the north side was actually the switchbacks leading easily down. The slope was so steep the real drop off was hidden. Unfortunately I tried climbing down then snow shoeing between the boulders. Climbing, snowshoeing, repeatedly taking on and off the snowshoes to climb etc. This is where I fell and had to dig my way out.

From there it got better. I put on micro spikes and full snow gear and worked my way over to the next ridge. The snow was deep but the slope was too steep to safely glissade. I stopped from sliding downhill with my legs while moving my body and arms to the right, then slowly repeated until I finally reached the next ridge, all while trying not to sink into the deeper sections of snow or get caught in a downhill slide.

By the time I got down the sun was setting. I wish I had known about the easier drainage down to Grass Lake then! Usually I look back at challenging times as the best part of an adventure. This won't be one of those times. But I will be back soon!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: An excellent adventure on 04/04/2013 17:40:39 MDT Print View

"I misread your original post Tom, I thought you were talking about just the begining of the trek down the east side. Internet senior moment (wait, I'm only 44)."

Nah, the senior moment was mine, an increasingly frequent occurrence it seems. I garbled my post pretty badly.

"Finding a way down from the ridge to the south of Upper Lamarck Lake was a real challenge."

From your description, it sounded like a borderline epic. Scrambling over that terrain in the conditions you describe would be pretty hairy, particularly the mixed snow and boulders section. That kind of stuff is a crap shoot half the time, with a very unpleasant downside if things go south on you.

"Usually I look back at challenging times as the best part of an adventure. This won't be one of those times."

When it happens on a solo hike it takes on a whole different feel, IME. Type 3 fun Skurka calls it? Just fun enough to keep us coming back for more ;0)

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Type Three Fun on 04/07/2013 22:05:34 MDT Print View

Tom, I had to look up type 3 fun and it sounds just right. Always more than enough to keep going back for more:)

brian H
(B14) - M

Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
Re: Glacier Divide Loop ~ Piute Pass, Alpine Col, Lamarck Col on 04/07/2013 23:22:24 MDT Print View

Phenomenal trip
great dispatch
very inspiring as well.
Thank you Andy.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Nice Report on 04/30/2013 17:11:18 MDT Print View

Thanks for the nice report. My son and I will be doing the same exact route (maybe in reverse) in July. He has been away for 2 years and that will be our first trip back together. Thanks for the pictures and report.

It makes it even harder to wait for now!