South Fork to Dry Lake 1/15-1/16/2022

Home Forums Trail Conditions South Fork to Dry Lake 1/15-1/16/2022

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    • #5913
      MikeH
      Participant

      Cliff’s Notes:   Road clear to the trailhead.  Some ice in parking lot.  Trail mostly clear for the first mile or so, but recommend traction devices for the climb at the beginning.  Plenty of water at South Fork Meadows.  Follow snow route up drainage (bypassing switchbacks).  Deep snow in camping areas of Dry Lake.  Did not use snowshoes or traction devices on the way up, but did use snowshoes wandering around looking for a campsite.  Used trail crampons for the hike back in the morning.

      Details for those who like them:

      Clear road to the trailhead.  A fair amount of ice in the parking lot… drive slow.  Plan ahead when you park so you don’t have ice around your car while you’re trying to get ready.  I’ll get this right next time… ha ha

      Trail is patchy snow/ dirt for the first mile or so (up to Horse Meadow) then is snow covered pretty much the whole way to Dry Lake.  I would recommend some sort of traction device on the part of the trail beginning from the parking lot as it climbs the short section to the upper part of the trail.  It was very icy.  After that, I did not use any sort of traction device or snowshoes all the way to Dry Lake.

      From South Fork Meadows (lots of water to fill up if you need to), the worn trail takes you up the “Winter Route”- it goes up the drainage directly to the lake.  The trail splits multiple times as people have taken various routes.  They all seem to end up at the same place – a well-worn path up the drainage to Dry Lake.  There were a few spots where I post-holed, but generally the trail was firm.  I was hiking on the trail from 10:00am-2:00pm.

      Tons of snow around Dry Lake.  Not a bare spot to be found.  It was crusty, but seemed about 2ft deep in areas where I would sink in.  I put my snowshoes on to look for a campsite.

      Finding a campsite was a challenge for me as camping in deep snow was new to me.  Using snowshoes, I tamped down a firm tent pad.  I had watched a video where they recommended tamping and then waiting 15-20 minutes because the area would harden as the water pressed out of the snow would harden.  This worked fairly well.  Getting the tent stakes (normal tent stakes) to hold firm was also a challenge.  Stomping some snow around them and waiting seemed to do the trick.  I had to use my ice axe to chop them free in the morning.  I’ll bring a free-standing tent next time.  I believe I was the only camped in that area.

      Weather was cool but nice.  Temps probably around mid 30’s.  I checked the thermometer on my pack in the morning and it read about 25 degrees. It was a full moon and the night scenery was fantastic.

      Packed up in the morning around 7:00am or so, I put on my trail crampons for the hike back.  These worked perfectly all the way back to the trailhead.

      Any questions, feel free to ask.

      Here’s 1 picture so, hopefully, this will post right away.   I’ll post more (or a link to a Flickr folder) once they get done uploading.  This pic was taken around 8:00pm… using the iPhone’s long exposure mode.  Amazing the light it pulled out.

      IMG_0245

    • #5914
      stbrnnr
      Participant

      yep–i for one like them details!  xlnt TR, Mike & thanks for always helping to keep this forum going.  that this DL pic is 8 pm not am is kinda blowing my mind.  only detail missed: which of the Huskies got the nod this trip?

    • #5915
      MikeH
      Participant

      Thanks. :-).  It was Max’s turn to go.

      I have a bunch more photos so I’ll try to post a few more and see what the forum software does.  But, yes, it was crazy how much brighter (with some decent detail) the photo that the phone (iPhone 11 Pro Max) produced with its long exposure mode.  Handheld too!

      IMG_0237

    • #5917
      MikeH
      Participant

      Tried posting with 3 pics and it didn’t show up.   While we await for it to be approved, here is a link to the Flickr album (hopefully the forum software lets this through).

      https://www.flickr.com/gp/156579288@N08/

    • #5916
      MikeH
      Participant

      Let’s try a few pics in one post. 🙂

      Parking lot had some ice.  Don’t park where there is ice where you need to stand to get ready (duh…)

      IMG_0186

      Some downed trees but nothing too crazy to get around or over.

      IMG_0188

      New Lost Creek Trail sign (Max looks like he’s photobombing it.)

      IMG_0197

    • #5920
      BrianD
      Participant

      Looks like a cool trip Mike. I’ve never been in there in the winter, only in the spring to do some spring skiing. Nice TR and pics.

      Brian

    • #5921
      MikeH
      Participant

      Thanks Brian.  Saw quite a few skiers going up and coming down.  For me, it’s a great hike to do in the winter – especially after the trail has been walked on a bit.  Not too difficult but hard enough to make it fun.  Plus the payoff of Dry Lake is great.  I’ve never been past Dry Lake in snow like there is now, though.

    • #5925
      Josh T
      Participant

      EFFF90E1-CBDE-41ED-85C4-4EBB0EAECFA62E8E1AA7-074E-4898-BE8C-F494489CFE66Cool trip thanks for sharing details and cool pictures. I like the south fork trail for spring overnight ski adventures but haven’t done a winter one yet, looking forward to a summit in a few weeks

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