Lake Caroline: Central Cascades - Leavenworth Area - Eightmile Lake TH to Lake CarolineDate:
This was an overnight snow camping trip at lake Caroline with 2 other members of Adventure Explorers (https://adventureexplorers.org/
We met up at 6am at Eastgate park and ride and took i-90 to Leavenworth. All mountain passes were clear and we didn't encounter snow on the road until Icicle Rd. The road is plowed, so it's passable by 2WD. We carried chains, but didn't end up using them.
Since the road to Stuart Lake trail head is currently closed, the hike begins at Bridge Creek Campground. There is a crust of ice over a deep layer of snow and some avalanche debris all the way to Little Eightmile Lake. Snow shoes have really helped out with postholing. There are multiple downed trees, the trail is unmarked and hard to find, a navigation device is necessary especially above Little Eightmile lake and during bad visibility.
The hard part was the ascent and next day descent of the steep hill after Little Eightmile lake leading up to the pass to lake Caroline. The icy snow crust was covered with a 2-4 inch layer of fresh powder which made it hard to ascend in snow shoes and we were doing some post holing while down climbing in crampons. Crampons were much better than snow shoes on the icy slopes. Proper snow travel skills are important here since the runoff is unsafe.
The team was pretty tired after the climb and promptly set up a tent. Building a snow wall has proved more effective at keeping everyone warm(from snow shoveling), than at blocking the non existent wind. We've melted some snow for water, cooked dinner and played cards, then got 11 hours of very peaceful sleep in the winter's silence. Gear Notes:
Ice axe, crampons, snow shoes, ski polesApproach Notes:
The road to Stuart Lake trailhead is closed at Bridge Creek Campground