Party: Dicey, cartman, Justus S, Mike Collins, Martin S, Guiran, 2 friends of Guiran, Matt
Breccia, definition 1: A coarse-grained rock composed of angular fragments of pre-existing rocks
Breccia, definition 2: Point 6487 northeast of Round Lake, north of Lost Creek Ridge
Breccia, definition 3: A fine winter scramble on a beautiful bright (but short) December day
We started from the Lost Creek Ridge TH, 1850 feet, at 7:45am. For most of the drive, the road was bare, but there were a few inches of snow on the last mile. In the woods, the trail was completely bare up to about 3000 feet, and had only a thin cover of snow up to Bingley Gap, 4400 feet.
Even with so little snow, the avalanche potential of last weekend’s weather showed. Wherever we crossed a narrow avalanche gully in the woods, it was filled with lumps of hard avalanche debris.
The valley filled with morning mist, but we climbed above it by the time we reached Bingley Gap. I especially like these days when the fog fills the valley so that the each ridge and peak stands out in distinct profile above the sea of white clouds below.
Along the ridge, the forest showed the differing effect of opposite exposure to the weather. On the south side, the trees were bare of snow and warming in the morning light. On the north side, it was all shadows and heavy frost on the boughs.
Further up the ridge, the snow became deeper but still solid, usually a few inches of powder over a firm crust. Circa 5200 feet, we switched to crampons for the rest of the journey. As the views opened up southward, Sloan & Bedal dominated the view.
The ideal route traverses a little south of the crest to bypass steep high points on the ridge, but we didn’t quite achieve the ideal. At Point 5960, we errantly followed the crest, hit the steep end, and had to backtrack down to traverse past Sunup Lake.
Then we headed to crest lined with frosty trees…
And followed the crest to the wide rounded summit.
Panoramic views showed dozens of Mountain Loop peaks, Glacier Peak, and the long stretch of Ptarmigan Traverse peaks in the distance.
Some of the party had arrived long before. I entertained the group by kicking my camera into the snow when I snagged a crampon on the pack that was holding the pole that was holding the camera for a group photo.
Then we headed back down, the last of us arriving at 5pm, just as it became too dark to see in the woods.
Scary flashback photo from Breccia in Spring 2001:
Stats: 11 miles, 4700 net gain, 5200 cumulative gain, 9:15 hours
Gear used: poles, crampons, ice axe. Gear not used: snowshoes.
-------------- “As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
I wonder how many different ways this word is mispronounced. I've always mumbled it so that whoever I was talking to thought there was something wrong with their hearing. When in doubt, either confuse 'em or mumble.
My geological terms book says it's "bret-cha," as an italian word.
Lost Creek is such a wonderful ridge. You’re in the dark forest for so long, then once on the ridge, still in the trees. The suddenly you break out of the trees and if you want to, you can stay out of the trees ‘til you get all the way to the Wenatchee River. Lost Creek Ridge makes you feel so good!
-------------- "...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."
That looks like a really neat trip. I enjoyed looking at all of your bright sunny pictures with glorious blue sky and interesting frost and ice. I don't do much winter travel, so I find it intriguing to see what I'm missing. Thanks for sharing!
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