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Stuart Lake TH access

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Stuart Lake TH access

Postby mcpherma » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:07 pm

Is it accessable right now? I am planning a trip next week or the week after to do Colchuck and/or Dragontail. I was hoping to see if one can get up there.

Also, does anyone have any experience doing both Dragontail and Colchuck from the Colchuck glacier route in one shot? What should I expect if I want to do both?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby mcpherma » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:33 am

That's what I was afaid of. If I recall correctly, the road is 6 miles total? I will check my maps later. I suppose I could be up for a slog.
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Postby RokIzGud » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:28 am

Walked down thre road today... Still gated and lots of snow.
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Postby mcpherma » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:09 am

Thanks for the info, glad you guys had a great time. I see the forecast is probably going to foil my plans. Normally I wouldn't mind a little snow, but if I am going to burn some leave from work to go, I at least want some tolerable weather.

Nice pics on the TR.
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Postby RokIzGud » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:32 pm

If the weathers right you should go for it. Plenty of parking at the bottom and an easy 4 mile walk up. We didnt even need snowshoes but if it warms up you might want them...
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Postby mcpherma » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:33 pm

Now that I read my response again, it didn't make much sense. I don't mind snow on the ground and a 4 mile road march. Actually that's why I want to get up there this early, I love the snow cover. It's just that the days my buddy is available would require me to take some time off work and I am just not ready to burn up some vacation if it's going to be rain/ snow/ nasty. I guess I'm mostly a fair weather climber. believe me, I've got my eye on the weather and will be on my way as soon as I can.
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Postby EastKing » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:54 am

My advise! Go now! Colchuck is basically a total snowclimb to the summit! Personally I love snow more that rock so I loved it. I don't know much yet about Dragontail but I will be researching it a lot for a possible trip up there soon. Colchuck Lake was a great camping spot. Bring microspikes for the Stuart Lake trail. It was icy when we were going up!
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Postby cbcbd » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:23 am

As of last night the road was very patchy (patches of snow/ice) for the first half - so if you were planning on taking skis you can forget skiing down the last ~2mi of road unless you ski gravel well. The road is around 4.5mi.
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Postby mcpherma » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:51 pm

I never had enough coordination to handle skis, those that can two stick are like gods to me. I am still watching the weather because I too prefer to climb on snow. I just don't like rain the wet stuff (dry snow is cool) falling on me. I really enjoy snow climbs in the sunshine or at least with a high enough cloud deck that I have a decent view. I will admit it; I'm mostly a fair weather climber. I quit gambling with the weather because every time I do, it seems like I not only lose, but it turns out worse than predicted.
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Postby RokIzGud » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:31 pm

This is quoted from needtoclimb from cc.com (this was this past Sunday).

"Nice trip report. Teresa and I saw you guys coming down the road Sunday afternoon. We were headed up in the rain and met you on the road just past the gate. She was hiking a little ahead of me. Good work getting up there.

As for current conditions, we spend Sunday night at the south end of the lake. It snowed most the night with very strong winds. We woke up and found almost all the tracks obliterated. We crossed the lake, punching through a lot. I would recommend snowshoes or skis. Our plan was to do the Coulour on Colchuck, and headed straight up the glacier moraine. All the kicked steps were gone. Without being able to find any pre-kicked steps, we had to make our own.

It was some of the toughest hiking I have done in a while. 2 inches of powder covered a crust layer, and below the crust was about 1.5 feet of powder. The crust was just hard enough to kick onto, set 3/4 of my weight before it broke, post holing up to my knee. Without snowshoes, this quickly became quite irksome. It took about 1.5 hours to get from the lake to the moraine. On the moraine, the snow was deeper still, breaking through the crust and plunging past the knee. I know there are steps out there somewhere, but everything was filled in. We got to a little below the start of the coulour, and realized it would take many more hours at that rate to get up, and we still needed to hike out today. Not wanting to do the long hike out exhausted and in the dark, we headed down.

Crossing the lake again to our tent, I punched through about every 3rd step. Teresa, being a bit lighter, managed to stay on the crust most the way across the lake, but I couldn't. The trail from the road to the lake is all hard-packed and quick, its the upper portions that were very powdery"
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Postby mcpherma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:38 pm

I have been watching the 10 day forecast for Ronald and leavenworth (split the diff until it's within NOAA's forecast) and I think it's game on for me Mon and Tues next week. Unfortunately one of my partners put on a skirt and complained about his knee, and the other might not be able to weasle out of work. I think I'll look at doing both peaks depending on conditions.

We'll see what the forecast holds as it closes in and the avy conditions after all this snow.
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Postby mcpherma » Thu May 13, 2010 7:32 pm

Finally made it up after weather and pneumonia thwarting my attempts since whenever I started this thread. We had awsome views and weather. The camping was great as well, couldn't have asked for more. I will absolutely do this climb again. We did not try Dragontail as we got a late start in the morning thanks to my ever so quiet alarm. That's OK because Pandora's Box was just littered wiht avy debris and with the deep soft snow and the sun shining on it, I wasn't real hot on the idea anyway.

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Postby Jakester » Thu May 13, 2010 9:16 pm

Nice Climb! Looks like you had great weather. So, were you able to drive all the way to the trailhead? Was the trail to Colchuck Lake covered in snow still?
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