Forum Index > Trip Reports > Deer creek / Kelcema lake, 2.3.2008
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3597 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
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Wannabe
PostMon Feb 04, 2008 10:14 am 
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We bailed on our original plans to chance the passes and went up to the Mountainloop to stretch our legs.  I've never driven that road with so much snow!  The walls on the sides were almost taller than my Outback and in places the road was barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass.  Thankfully we arrived at the end just as the plow finished clearing and there was plentiful parking.

The road was so well packed that we didn't put on our snowshoes for several miles.  Of course one foot out of the trench and we'd sink more than thigh deep.  The views were surprisingly good with high clouds.  At the clearing along the road we could see well down the valley to neighboring peaks - and their many avalanches.  Nearly all the steep slopes on Long and Bald mountain had thick fracture lines from slab avalanches letting go.

When we reached the end of the road there was no sign of the summer trail; the snow was so deep the sign was completely buried!  Thankfully someone had continued on and saved us breaking trail in the powder.  They wove a nice track through the trees and we popped out at the lake to an interesting sight.  On the far side of the lake a recent major avalanche had come down, scattering debris and broken trees more than halfway across the lake.  The chute it rode down was all chewed up and many trees looked damaged.

But the weirdest part was the lake itself.  Surrounding the whole perimeter of the bowl there was a large crevasse-like crack, maybe a foot wide and at least two feet deep.  Many smaller cracks radiated out from that.  Someone had walked out onto the lake surface but we stayed well back.  I haven't seen anything like this before.  Our best guess was the force of the avalanche slamming onto the frozen lake fractured or shifted the ice, cracking the frozen snow around the edges.  Either way it was weird and interesting.

Kelcema lake trip photos

Curly
Curly
Breaking clouds
Breaking clouds
Distant peaks
Distant peaks
Soft snow
Soft snow
On the trail
On the trail
Tree eruption
Tree eruption
Mushrooms
Mushrooms
Bottomless pit
Bottomless pit
Fracture line
Fracture line
Avalanche debris
Avalanche debris
Cracks
Cracks
So many cracks
So many cracks
Rolling cracks
Rolling cracks
Heading out
Heading out
Cloud break
Cloud break
Kelcema panorama
Kelcema panorama
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5468 | TRs
Location: Ballard
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PostMon Feb 04, 2008 10:39 am 
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Opus, your description of the cracks reminds me of a visit I made to Kelcema. We were sitting by the outlet when an avalanche came down on the far end of the lake. A moment later a huge plume of water was shot out at the outlet. Scared the heck out of us. It was big and loud. Push down on one end and the water has to be shot out somewhere else.

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Hiking Northwest
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4179 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Feb 04, 2008 10:48 am 
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That's interesting about the cracks on the lake.  I haven't heard of that before.

Your photo of the snow piled atop the fungi on the tree trunk is also unique.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3597 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
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Wannabe
PostMon Feb 04, 2008 10:59 am 
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I wish I could have captured the cracks better.  The panorama here shows the scale a bit better.

Jim, that sounds about right to me.  It looks like the entire lake surface sunk down a foot or two, cracking the slopes around it.  It must have been one heck of a pounding.  The entire thing looked like a giant round footprint.  At first I thought it was just a snowshoer trench circling the lake, but up close they look very jagged and blue inside.  We weren't sure how deep the cracks went so we stayed back.
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 841 | TRs
Location: Seattle
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Trail Breaker
PostMon Feb 04, 2008 11:17 am 
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Thanks for the report. We're heading there next Saturday. Hopefully the crack will still be visible. Sounds like a cool thing to check out.

Was the road OK enough for 2 WD vehicles?

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Life is simple... Eat, Sleep, Hike!
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3597 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
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Wannabe
PostMon Feb 04, 2008 11:31 am 
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Yep, the road was well plowed.  Icy in spots but nothing major, any car should make it fine.

I kept an eye out on the other trailheads as we went for future trips.  There is a huge snow wall at the start of the Ashland lakes road, parking for a few vehicles.  The Lake22 lot either wasn't plowed or just inaccessible, people were parking in the driveway.  Pilchuck road looked nicely plowed.  There's nowhere to park right at the Martin Creek trailhead, but there is a construction site nearby the ranger suggested, or about a quarter mile up the road there is a plowed clearing big enough for several cars.
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Pin Toe
Hiking Did That 2 Me



Joined: 29 Sep 2003
Posts: 55 | TRs

Pin Toe
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Hiking Did That 2 Me
PostWed Feb 06, 2008 8:38 am 
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Gabigabs, look forward to your trip report.  I'm heading up there with seven Scouts on Feb 15-16.  Thanks.
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Brutally Handsome
PostWed Feb 06, 2008 11:17 pm 
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Great photos Opus.  Very interesting with all the fracture lines on the lake.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Deer creek / Kelcema lake, 2.3.2008
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