Hyak To Lost Lake Road
Due to the lousy conditions in
the mountains I spent the weekend in town. Monday is supposed to be the only
day this week without rain. With that in mind I took off from work at 12:00
and headed to the pass. My goal was to go from the Hyak sno-park to the far
end of Lake Keechelus. The limiting factor was daylight. I was on the trail
at 1:15 and sunset was at 4:15.
Snow conditions are as good or better than anything I
saw last year. The Summit has 70 inches and I would guess that there is about
50 inches on the Iron Horse. It looked like the route was groomed within a
day or so and another 3 or 4 inches had falled since then. There was one set
of tracks and many snowshoe prints in the middle. It was about 34 degrees
when I started so I had great grip but so so glide. The recent snow has really
flocked all the trees. That alone was worth the drive. I passed two women
half a mile along. The single track now had only one set of pole prints. It
was almost untouched snow. Within a mile all but one set of snowshoe prints
My only concern was the site of the old snow sheds. Avalanche
danger was listed as high above 6000-7000 feet and I was at 2450'. The snow
shed site had a good layer of snow with no traces of slides. There is still
not very much snow on the hillside above.
At 4 1/2 miles the lone skier had had enough and the
track ended. From here on I had to make my own. The snow was well compacted
so it only slowed me down a little. At 5 miles I reached the bridge over Roaring
Creek. It took me 67 minutes and I still had 30 minutes until my turn around
time. I continued to slog along and reached the Lost Lake Road at 2:40 with
5 minutes to spare. I used them to wolf down a sandwich and get a drink.
1:28 for 6 1/2 miles was not bad for me under those conditions.
The trip back was just as enjoyable. I saw many animal
tracks and just the one ski track. Not a trace of ice on the whole route.
My return time was nearly identical to the time going out. I reached the
car at 4:21 just as darkness set in. My headlamp stayed in my pack. I saw
the two women near the start and one snowshoer who was coming back as I skied
out. That was it. 13 miles and near solitude at one of the most crowded cross
country ski sites. What a great way to start the week.