This was our last chance to get winter 46er peaks in for 2006. Next week we are off to southern Utah, and by the time we return, that'll be it for the winter season. So, better make it a good one!
The last couple of weeks were not the most ideal weather-wise - cold, snowy and very windy. Today, though, turned out much better than the forecast, with barely a cloud in the sky and a moderate temperature. In the hopes of being able to save time and effort on the long boring Lake Road portion, we brought our skiis. The amount of time saved even going in the uphill direction is substantial. I also like it because it breaks up the pace from just plain hiking. And coming back along the almost-down-all-the-way road at the end of the day is sweet - very sweet!
Algonquin thru Cascade Pass
The ski went reasonably well, although the snow was hard-parked and full of ridges and tracks from other skiiers and snowmobiles and what-not. Still, we were gliding well and we made good time. In no time we were at the point along the road where our trail diverged and started to head up towards Colvin.
The trail was in excellent condition right from the start: packed, uniform, well-graded. Snowshoeing up this was a cinch. There was very little to no iciness and there was very little blowdown of note, all the way up to the summit of Colvin. And the perfect snow conditions made the steep parts look fantastic from a glissading-back-down perspective. Too bad we weren't planning on coming back down this way!
We arrived at the summit of Colvin just before noon - about three and a half hours from the car. There was a brisk but not-too-cold wind at the top, and there was simply stunning crisp clear winter views of the Great Range. Lots of beautiful white snow up on the higher peaks, too.
I had one of Jenn's superb sandwiches (thanks very much, Jenn), and took many photos - some of which will definitely have to go in my High Peaks info pages, since they are very good clear examples of various peaks. Additionally, we could see our return route far far below us.
Ascent to the summit knob