Did We Get to The Summit?
Well, that's a good question. We'll get to that soon.
The original plan was to climb Mt. David but the White River Road to the trail head is washed out just after Grasshopper Meadows, meaning a longer hike. BUMMER. Climbing Labyrinth was the backup plan and I thought this would be a better objective for Emily and Bethy. Emily, Bethy and I had a leisurely morning at our place of employment. Departure for the Minotaur Lake trail head happened after noon, a nontraditional start time for an adventure in the Cascades. The road from the West side of Lake Wenatchee to the trailhead was clear and in good condition. We left the car at around 1:30pm. From the trail head the trail quickly climbs on the west side of a steep drainage, the first few thousand yards of the trail were debris covered. We reached patchy snow at around 4,500 ft and solid consistent snow was found at 5,000 ft. Around 5,000 ft we met a two hikers who had lost their way and told us they had been hiking since 10am. Soon after, the trail was completely covered in snow and we came across an open area, there we ran into two other hikers, they had also been unable to find the lakes. I decided we should keep close to the ridge on our left and follow the valley up until we either found the lakes or gained a ridge for a view. Within about 15 minutes of leaving the last two hikers we crested a ridge and below us were the lakes. At one point we stopped and I gave Bethy my gaiters because she was wearing trail hikers and I was wearing my mountaineering boots. As a group we decided to follow the ridge between the two lakes towards the summit. We navigated a few snow covered creek crossings, steep snow slopes of 30-35 degrees, and multiple stops to assess our chosen route. On the last steep snow slope to the summit, the ice axes we carried came in handy, as I kicked steps up the steep exposed slope. We reached the 6,360 ft summit around 4:30pm, there we found a summit register and were the first to sign the register in 2017. Labyrinth was Emily's first true summit, it is always fun to share the joy of the mountains with others.
We didn't stay on the summit very long because there were ominous clouds surrounding us and some rain. I would have liked to stay and read the register. There was also a map in the register showing all of the surrounding peaks but I didn't get a chance to really analyse it. The descent from the summit was a bit tricky at first. I had on my mountaineering boots so I found the plunge stepping to be enjoyable. Both Bethy and Emily were wearing less snow appropriate footwear and were forced to self-arrest a few times. After the steepest snow pitch was over the descent was straightforward and we reached the car at 6:30pm.
Unfortunately we were unable to take any pictures due to cold temps and dead batteries but instead of looking at pictures I encourage everyone to get out and climb, whether that is an easy peak like Labyrinth or a more challenging climb.
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