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Alpine Scramble - Labyrinth Mountain/West Ridge

Quick scramble near Steven's Pass. Route to lake becoming popular. Time to find a new fun spot!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Saturday scramble Aug 5th 2017 - West Ridge.

TH sign and register moved to roadway.  Trail to lake is seeing heavy use.  Turnaround spot growing and more vehicles having to park further away.  Flying black bugs on switchback - so annoying when they fly into one's ears!  At the lake, mosquitoes await!  It's August.  

Followed path west of lake.  Scree field was snow free and offered a diagonal climber's path, NW, to the ridge.  (If the scree field has snow, one could easily fall and glissade straight into the lake, not safe.)  Quickly ascended to the middle of the the ridge.  If we had taken the winter route further south to gain the ridge, we could have spent more time practicing our footwork on 'ridge runnin.'

At the notch, one has to descend, cross a scree field, then ascend back to the ridge.  The first gully is chossy.  The second gulley offer's a better route back but stay to climber's left where solid rock offers better hand and footholds.  At the summit we had lunch then descended on the  obvious well worn path to the east side of the lake.  We had planned on swimming but got "bugged-out" and returned to TH.

Using this route variation - TH to summit was around three hours.  Two participants had soft knees so we went slow.  Summit to lake in an hour.  Fast route.  Gaining the ridge from the lake was quick.

Note:  from the toe of the lake, I have participants take a compass bearing (and back bearing) of what they think the true summit is.   From the summit I have them use their back bearing to confirm their original observations.  Rarely does anyone get it right.  Lends to a great discussion on navigation and routefinding.

We were in a stretch of a record setting heat and breaking another record for consecutive days with no rain.  Smoke from forest fires in BC had settled into the area and air quality was an issue.  With only the occasional whisp of a breeze, some feed mosquitoes their arms and legs while others baked in long sleeves.  All we could do was award points for the most bites - fun crew, lots of laughter.  Milkshakes at the Alpine Drive-in ended a great day scrambling.

 

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