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Trip Report    

Intermediate Snowshoe - Bagley & Chain Lakes

Poor visibility. Snow and wind. Avalanche danger. Nice powder.

  • Snow and ice on road
  • Avalanche danger.  Hard to see the terrain in white out conditions.

A good four inches of snow fell over night. For those of us parked at the Mountaineers lodge that meant quite a bit of scraping off the cars before heading to the trailhead.  Road had snow and ice but was good enough to navigate without chains.

Visibility was several hundred yards at the parking lot starting out but deteriorated as the day went on.

The snow itself was good powder. Very nice for snowshoeing. Contrast with the previous day where the snow was only a couple of inches of powder on top of a more crunchy layer.

We traveled up to the summer visitor center building and then headed down into the valley towards Bagley lakes. The wind had picked up quite a bit and we were facing into it. It was snowing pretty hard as well. Visibility had dropped.

Considering the low visibility, the difficulty of seeing and navigating the terrain, and the increasing avalanche danger of the slopes above us the group decided to not continue past Bagley lakes into the Chain lakes area. Instead we headed up hill towards Artists point where navigation would be easier and the terrain was safer for avalanche conditions.

Low visibility, high wind, and continuous snow continued as we made our way up the hill and past the point where the Winter Camping field trip had been held, greeting the class as they were headed out. We got into terrain that was beyond the comfort level of the group and because of the poor conditions decided to head back down. Total distance for the day was 2-1/2 miles and we spent two and a half hours out.

Recommended route to the lakes would be to travel past the visitor center on the East side into the wide open terrain down into the valley.