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Raoul Duke

Colchuck Lake on 11/2...

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Had expected to find more snow in-residence than we did, oh well, at least the ice tools got to go for a walk! Happy almost-winter everybody... :grin:

 

-113.jpg

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I wanna be there. . . I love that place, and I've only just tasted it. .

Thanks for the photo!

 

Edited by dhrmabum

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thank you for sharing!

 

I did this trail this past August and would be highly interested in re-doing it (and hopefully up Aasgard Pass as I did in the summer) this winter. Does anyone have any recommendations about going through with this idea? I'd be going alone and It would be one of my first winter hikes, although I feel I could manage... I would be interested if anyone has some key factors they feel the need to tell me though before making the drive from Portland Oregon.

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thank you for sharing!

 

I did this trail this past August and would be highly interested in re-doing it (and hopefully up Aasgard Pass as I did in the summer) this winter. Does anyone have any recommendations about going through with this idea? I'd be going alone and It would be one of my first winter hikes, although I feel I could manage... I would be interested if anyone has some key factors they feel the need to tell me though before making the drive from Portland Oregon.

 

I will expect the locals to weigh in but your summertime nirvana takes on a whole new personality in winter:

 

-The road will be closed way down Icicle extending the trip considerably.

-This trip is not a "hike" in winter and likely would involve snowshoeing or skiing.

-Aasgard Pass is dangerous in winter due to steep snow and avalanche potential.

-Unless you are very experienced, going alone is not advised.

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A good goal and a trip that will have some really nice contrast between summer and winter, but probably not the best for one of your "first winter hikes". If there is snow, which there will be more of soon, it can be slow going if the trail isn't packed and the route finding just up to Colchuck can be difficult. Weather also becomes a much bigger issue for navigation. You'll also have an extra 3 miles of road to walk each way from the gate meaning it's more than 16 miles round trip just to the lake and back.

 

Hiking in from the snow lake side can be a better intro and a friendlier winter hike as the trail is easier to follow and the elevation gain is slower. Also less avalanche risk.

 

Once you have some experience Colchuck lake is a great snowshoe or ski but you still will need some avalanche awareness training before safely venturing up Aasgard Pass as it has several major avy paths coming down and has been the site of several fatalities due to slips when it get icy in the spring. You can still get "winter" conditions up there in May and June when things can start to settle but again not the best beginner trip but a good long term goal.

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the quick responses are extremely appreciated!

 

I do understand the extra factors of difficulty included in this trip and would not take any of this lightly and I have done some research (based upon what I could find) to discover that the trail would be extended due to the snowed out roads and would accept this.

 

I would be prepared for snowshoeing as well as crampon use if need be and these are things that leave me interested greatly as I'd like to become a well rounded mountaineer.

 

Avalanches are a serious factor that I would not take lightly as well and I do appreciate this being mentioned. I did find this websight helpful, http://www.avalanche.org/tutorial/tutorial.html would anyone have any more to add to this beyond that websights information?

Edited by Costanza

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I will be a little more blunt, because I'm not sure you're hearing the good advice that's been given already:

 

This is not a good idea. There won't be a trail for most of the way. You will be traveling in snow, with variable and unpredictable conditions, almost the whole way. You will be in avalanche terrain many times on this loop. You need a good bit of winter travel experience before trying something of this magnitude. You can gain this experience pretty quickly, if you're dedicated, but this is not something you can do some research on from your computer, and then just go out and do. You are underestimating how hard this is, and this is literally how inexperienced people get themselves killed in the winter.

 

Hiking up to Colchuck lake, however, is a fine idea. Much of the winter there will be a boot pack trail in place, the terrain is pretty safe, and the mileage is reasonable.

 

Start small! Stay safe, learn some things, and you'll be able to work up to this plan quickly.

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You're getting some good advice Costanza, you should pay attention. No one is talking down to you, they just want to see you stay safe, alive, and learn more about this winter travel business.

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i understand,

 

is there a list of good winter hikes anywhere (Specifically close to Portland)? I originally found Colchuck by searching "glacial lakes" because their blue beauty is one of my favorite things out there and since I know in the winter it wouldn't be the same it isn't ontop of my "must do" list, especially since the drive is hours upon hours away.

 

I'd like to get some solid snowshoe,crampon, and ice axe experience. I really enjoyed the steepness of Aasgard also is why I originally came back to the idea of doing it in the winter.

 

I plan on doing Mt.Hood this spring, but that is some time away. I'd also like to up my snow experience before so. At this point I do feel like this is taking away from this threads main topic (Colchuck Lake) and would be happy to make a new thread if need be!

Edited by Costanza

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once there is actually some significant snow, in your backyard consider the gumjuwac trail up from OR-35 [can park on side of road or across the way by the 'chain up' spot - just don't during a fresh snow dump since they need to plow that] to Gumjuwac Saddle. From there you can continue off-trail up the ridge to Lookout Mountain, or continue on a road to the south and try to find Jean Lake. You will find adequate steep on your way up to Gumjuwac saddle, and onward up to Lookout Mnt if you continue. If you do go up the 'ridge' to Lookout there are some open SE facing slopes that could be prime for avy--but that can probably be avoided by veering climbers left.

 

but honestly I'd recommend starting with going to mirror lake and then up tom dick and harry balls mountain as a '1st' if you're really intent on self-educating. you'll have an entire winter season to push yourself, you have everything to gain starting small and going from there, but much to lose biting off more than you can chew. another consideration is snowshoeing up to silcox hut or top of palmer (keep the lifts in sight if inclement weather)

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There's a book called "Snowshoe Routes Oregon". The Washington version may also be of interest. You can peek at both of these on Google Books.

 

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