03/16/2019 at 7:56 pm #2798
This may get long- I’ll put a summary at the bottom if you want to scroll past.
Just got back from a trip that was cut short, but still fun. It was my first time hiking in these conditions- soft snow, ice/ slush underneath. I learned a couple things. I have hiked in the snow once before but it was harder/ more ice. Microspikes saved the day that hike. Today called for crampons which I didn’t have.
I had planned this trip to be an overnight at Limber Pine Bench. I stopped by the ranger station and spoke with Lonnie (and the lady there who I forgot her name) and got my overnight permit. Lonnie gave me some trail information. He told me I should have crampons since the last few rescues were people who slipped with microspikes. I only had microspikes so I decided to hike until I didn’t feel comfortable and turn around. If I didn’t make it to Limber Pine, no big deal. I also had one of our Huskies (Mika) with me.
Lonnie asked me to post pictures of the trail and parking lot- including the road leading up to it for those who might be interested. I stopped by on my way home to show Lonnie in person, but the station was closed by the time I got there (around 4:45pm).
Road to trailhead was a little muddy and had some snow. My Civic had no problems EXCEPT there are some fairly large bumps/ ruts. Coming back out I couldn’t believe the car made it up one of them. There was a Yaris and one or two other “regular” cars in the lot. I don’t think I’ll bring the Civic again. Just a bit too rough. Also, the trees/ bushes on the side of the trail can scrape your car while you maneuver around the obstacles.
Trail started out mostly dirt for about the first 1/4-1/2 mile. Then was covered with snow basically the whole way up. Walking along the sloped parts of the trail was very difficult (and dangerous) for those not prepared (me). If I never have to do another kick-step again, I’ll be very happy.
For those who don’t know, normally the trail – even on the parts that cut into a slope- is basically flat. Hiking through the snow, it’s not. Well, I suppose it is, but you wouldn’t know. In some places it’s ok, but a LOT of it is a battle of kick-stepping and trying not to let your feed slide down the slope. I’m sure crampons would be a HUGE help but I’ve never used them so I don’t know. Hopefully someone more experienced will share their knowledge.
Microspikes would help if the snow was iced over or shallow enough for the spikes to make it to the ice layer underneath. I don’t know if they would have helped today. I didn’t try the ones I brought and regret it. Someone along the trail switched to crampons because he said his microspikes didn’t work in the deep snow. Snow was approx 6″-12″ deep or so.
The trail had quite a few footprints for the first few miles and then slowly had fewer and fewer. I believe they ended shortly after Columbine Spring. I used my Garmin watch to follow the trail. Even then, it was hard to slog through the snow and some parts that were supposed to be the trail didn’t make sense to me. Eventually, the snow got too deep and the “trail” too steep, I gave up and turned around. We were about 1 mile from Limber Pine. 5 miles of kick-stepping and breaking trail was too much for me today. Perhaps if I had crampons (and a bit more endurance), I wouldn’t have been so tired at that point.
We stopped for lunch and then headed back. Trip back was quicker, but still a struggle on the sloped parts of the trail. Mika didn’t seem to have any trouble. 😉
We left the car about 10:00am and got back about 4:00pm. About 10 miles total.
Summary/ Lessons learned:
Road to trail: A bit too rough for a regular car. It’s doable, but a couple rough spots. Mud and snow wasn’t a problem this day. Keep your speed up through those sections.
Trail: Soft snow with ice/ slush underneath- SLIPPERY. Bring crampons when the rangers say to bring crampons. My boots- newly purchased- worked great in the cold and wet, but were too big (wide). I should have worn them more beforehand. Tall gators. Cardio.
Otherwise, it really was a nice trip. Weather was fantastic. Snow was beautiful. I wish I could have see what Limber Pine was like.
Here’s some pictures:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/24AXYP2][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7899/40433445983_70640af4eb_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/24AXYP2]Untitled[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156579288@N08/]Mike H[/url], on Flickr
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2e7zhHo][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7824/46675724424_8a22ed1ee9_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2e7zhHo]Untitled[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156579288@N08/]Mike H[/url], on Flickr
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2f8PVKW][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7826/47346253872_4fa037493d_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2f8PVKW]Untitled[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156579288@N08/]Mike H[/url], on Flickr
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2e7zmGq][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7923/46675737824_44d101469b_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2e7zmGq]Untitled[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156579288@N08/]Mike H[/url], on Flickr
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2f8Q11j][img]https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4860/47346268162_d7872d35ae_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2f8Q11j]Untitled[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156579288@N08/]Mike H[/url], on Flickr
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2dPCFxt][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7800/46484006125_909bb80069_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2dPCFxt]Untitled[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156579288@N08/]Mike H[/url], on Flickr
[url=https://flic.kr/p/24AY31H][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7908/40433456753_1e6e14d6f1_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/24AY31H]Untitled[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156579288@N08/]Mike H[/url], on Flickr
03/16/2019 at 8:23 pm #2799
Hmmm… I reformatted the pictures to show in-line and submitted the edited post. I’ll check tomorrow to see if it’s updated. If not, I’ll edit it again.
Oh and I forgot to say I should have brought sunscreen or a buff for my face. The sun reflecting off the snow was a killer.
03/17/2019 at 6:35 am #2800
Doesn’t look like the pictures reformatted. I’ll post them here:
03/17/2019 at 9:14 am #2801EdParticipant
Nice trip report, thanks. Looks like a happy dog!
03/17/2019 at 10:23 pm #2804Ranger LonParticipant
Great details. Thanks for sharing the info, Mike. It will be a big help to us at Mill Creek. Glad you had a good day on the trail.
03/18/2019 at 8:35 am #2805
Glad to help, Lon. Was nice speaking with you.
Thanks again for the advice offered and for the work done by you and the other crew members.
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