Trip Report    

Three Musketeers Ridge

A long day trip to a seldom visited summit.

  • Sat, Feb 29, 2020
  • Mount Temple/West Side
  • Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles

High above Nada Lake, between Tamarack Meadows and Toketie Creek, lies Three Musketeers Ridge. It is number 17 on the Back Court 100 list of peaks. And with only 9 to go, anything that is possible is drawing my efforts.

Luke and I started from the Snow Lakes Trailhead at 6:45 Saturday morning. This isn't early, but we were feeling really confident that this would be an 11-12 hour day. The trail is mixed bullet-proof ice and dry ground for the first mile. After that, hard snow leads to softer and softer snow. We put on snowshoes at the footbridge 4 miles in. 

It took us about 4 hours to get to the bottom of the gully that drains Temple Canyon/Tamarack Meadows into Nada Lake. We had no idea if this would go, but it looked good in some photos from earlier this month. We snowshoed up the gully until we had to switch to boots and ice axes, making a stop beneath a wide chandelier of overhanging icicles. 


We went up the mossy slot people avoid in summer. It was covered in decent snow, a little rotten. There were more steeps above, but with snowshoes we were able to surmount this section and came to easier terrain at 5,800 feet.

From here it was about one mile and 2,000 feet to the summit. This is where the day began to get away from us. Between postholing, deep trail-breaking, a little bit of bad routefinding, and just the bitter cold wind, we finally summited at 3:30. Temple Ridge dominated the view to the south. The Edwards Plateau and The Mole stuck out to the north. 


On the way down we collected the rope and picket Luke stashed along the way. We slung a big tree above the gully and used the rope to do a protected downclimb. We got back to the lake as the sun set and put forth our remaining strength to snowshoeing 6 more miles back to the trailhead. Last call in Leavenworth is pretty early, afterall. A big day for sure, but a fun route.


14.3 miles, 6,500 feet of elevation gain. 14 hours.