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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3549 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 9:56 am 
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We have a streak going now: three trips with myself and JimK, three successful summits in a row.  I think the curse is over.  And what a summit it was today!

Starting down the highway past Monroe I called Suzanne to let her know we were running a bit late.  As it turned out that didn't matter - we were all caught behind a highway closing wreck at Scenic that ate an hour and half of hiking time while it was cleared.  We finally hit Smithbrook around 10:30.  Thankfully the snow was heavily compacted and we booted our way up to the switchback in record time.

From here it was uphill to the lake.  We followed some skier and old snowshoe tracks upwards to our goal.  Relying on my memory of the route last month, always an interesting prospect, we took a much steeper track than we'd planned.  The final 20 feet was especially interesting.  Luckily the snow was soft for good steps.  Arriving at the lake to glorious blue skies and warm sun we ran into the skiers again, who said hello and started off on their summit attempt.  We would see them off and on as went climbed.

After a bite to eat we rounded the lake and pushed up into the valley, not seeing the full ridge.  From our vantage the cornice on the ridge appeared monsterous and impassible.  We opted to hook to the north and gain that ridge for a summit run.  It looked steep, and it sure was.  Once again I proved my value to the group for vastly increasing caloric burn and muscle building by picking the steepest slope in the area.  You guys can thank me later.  wink.gif

Most of us made it up onto the ridge by this track.  Fran, who doesn't like the steep stuff, and in posession of better common sense, went further up the valley to find a better way.  At the top we were on the ridge though!  The view was fantastic!  Even Glacier peak right up front.  But we could see that this ridge wouldn't allow us to make the true summit.  Suzanne and Jack attempted to traverse around the side and kick steps but the slope was very steep and they turned back.

Interestingly we could see a big gap in the cornice on the other ridge with a notch to pass through.  Jim and Barry ran off to check that out and quickly reported that from then on it was a walk up.  Fran joined us and under the watchful supervision of Gusto we gained the ridge and walked on to the summit!  Beautiful views in every direction.  We didn't get to stay long and enjoy the sun though with our traffic induced late start.  After some photos we started down.

Back at the notch we all took off our snowshoes and plunge stepped back down to the valley floor.  I attempted to glissade but couldn't get any momentum up.  Fran, the glissade master, however went zooming down everywhere.  We put on our snowshoes again and walked down to the lake.  On our initial ascent we passed a huge group of Everett parks snowshoers and returning to the lake we could see their tracks everywhere.  Reasoning that twelve heads likely had twice the brains of six we followed their tracks down hoping for a better route.  And they did not disappoint!  Much better and less steep, closer to the lake outlet.  We even found a few short glissades.

Back on the road again and then a slow walk back to the cars.  Even with our late start it was a fantastic trip and much better weather than we'd expected.  We stopped for a Mexican dinner in Monroe to celebrate our successful summit and Gusto's first real peak!

Lichtenberg peak trip photos

Lichtenwasser lake
Lichtenwasser lake
Carved slopes
Carved slopes
Distant skier
Distant skier
Steep
Steep
Nice view
Nice view
The summit
The summit
Ridge
1 label
Ridge
Gusto and Suzanne
Gusto and Suzanne
Nearly there
Nearly there
Supervising Gusto
Supervising Gusto
Lichtenburg peak
Lichtenburg peak
Summit panorama
Summit panorama
Mt. Daniel
Mt. Daniel
Heading down
Heading down
Off the ridge
Off the ridge
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 5065 | TRs
Location: Headed west soon
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 10:06 am 
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Nice way to "git er done" I like the cornices hanging over the edges up there.

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www.youtube.com/bkraai | www.flickr.com/photos/bkraai/sets/
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Bloated Chipmunk
Farblondjet



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 2619 | TRs
Location: Margaritaville
Bloated Chipmunk
Farblondjet
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 10:20 am 
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Ballbuster of a climb but worth that awesome view (after finding a less steep, less sketchy route to the top, of course)!  Too bad we didn't have more time on the summit, but David's photos will help me linger in memory a little longer... cheers.gif

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Home is where the hiking is. 

"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas

A balanced diet is a margarita in each hand.
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4075 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 10:33 am 
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Looks like a fine day out there.  Nice job.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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GeoTom
Custom Title



Joined: 19 May 2005
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Location: Location
GeoTom
Custom Title
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 10:33 am 
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Glad you guys had Gusto along to supervise  hockeygrin.gif

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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 11:29 am 
Lichtenwasser/Lichtenberg
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Opus -
You failed to mention how much I HATE SMITHBROOK!!!

Aside from that, a spectacular day and great company.  Gusto bagged his first, true summit!   
Driver and Gusto on the summit
Driver and Gusto on the summit

one happy pup, for sure!  He slept in this morning  lol.gif  When David, Joe and I attempted this same trip just before Christmas, the snow was so deep, we only got as far as the exit off of Smithbrook.  We were wallowing in chest-deep snow as we headed toward the creek.  This time, the snow was in perfect condition - no crampons or ice ax needed - didn't put our snowshoes on until we left Smithbrook.  Most trip reports talk about a Northeast ridge approach to the summit, but as David said, that route wasn't very promising - Jack and I gave it some thought.  For conditions this year, the southern ridge is much more practical.   Here are a few of my pics and I know Jim K has some, too.  Our crew included:  Opus (David), Jack, Fran, Jim K, Middle E (Barry), the Driver (Suzanne) and, of course, Gusto!
Fran and David on top of Lichtenberg
Fran and David on top of Lichtenberg
Jack, Jim and Barry on summit
Jack, Jim and Barry on summit
Group coming back across Lichtenwasser
Group coming back across Lichtenwasser
Looking Southeast from Lichtenberg - Mt. Stuart off in the distance
Looking Southeast from Lichtenberg - Mt. Stuart off in the distance
Skiers getting reading to cross the lake and head up to Lichtenberg
Skiers getting reading to cross the lake and head up to Lichtenberg
Lichtenberg in distance as seen from route up from Lichtenwasser
Lichtenberg in distance as seen from route up from Lichtenwasser
Barry and Jim heading to notch to get to Southern ridge
Barry and Jim heading to notch to get to Southern ridge
Lichtenberg summit - cornice split obvious
Lichtenberg summit - cornice split obvious

Here is what the traffic jam on Hwy 2 looked like in the morning  frown.gif
Looking back at traffic jam on Hwy 2
Looking back at traffic jam on Hwy 2
A long wait on Hwy 2 (looking East)
A long wait on Hwy 2 (looking East)

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 8922 | TRs
Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
viewbagger
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 1:10 pm 
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up.gif Nice pics. That's a sweet summit. Get Out and Go and I did it last year, while short on miles the gain gives you a workout.
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 432 | TRs
Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSun Feb 24, 2008 1:12 pm 
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Although I had previously crossed paths with many of this crew (Sadie's Driver, JimK, and  Opus) this was the first 'official' outing and quite a memorable one!  Here's a few more photos -- the theme seems to be blue and white...
Heading toward the bowl
Heading toward the bowl
Looking across the bowl
Looking across the bowl
Below the summit
Below the summit
Jim and Suzanne walking past the cornices before the summit
Jim and Suzanne walking past the cornices before the summit
David, Fran, and Jack after returning across Lictenwasser
David, Fran, and Jack after returning across Lictenwasser

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pithy yet insightful signature
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5382 | TRs
Location: Ballard
JimK
Member
PostMon Feb 25, 2008 8:15 am 
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As usual I have a longer report posted. This time I have included all 40 photos. Without further ado here it is:


Suzanne suggested Lichtenberg Mountain for Saturday. She had made it as far as Lichtenwasser Lake once before time constraints cut short her trip. David had been a little beyond the lake before turning back. Suzanne, Barry, and I headed out to meet David, Fran, and Jack at the Smith Brook trailhead. We arranged to meet at 9:00 AM. Suzanne just moved and could not find her snowshoes. That meant after meeting her we backtracked to my place to get another pair for her. By the time we picked up Barry we were running a little late.

By the time we reached Gold Bar David called to say he was running late. We were actually a few miles ahead of him. Just before Scenic traffic came to a complete halt. A check of the radio confirmed a rollover accident just ahead of us. We waited. And waited. And waited. After about an hour traffic was moving again. So much for getting up at 6:00 AM. It was 10:30 by the time we reached Smith Brook. The elevation is about 3170'. There was only one other car and the occupants were getting ready to start skiing. We inquired and they were heading to Lichtenberg Mountain. Looked like we would have tracks to follow. Seems they had not been there either though.

Another big group arrived just after us. They were an Everett Parks and Recreation group led by Alpine Andy. I had seen his website years back. We moved out just ahead of the big group at 10:45.

Parking Lot
Parking Lot
Smith Brook Road
Smith Brook Road

Smith Brook Road was well packed down. We did not need snowshoes for the entire road walk. We played leap frog with one of the skiers. On the positive side, the forecast was for mostly sunny and we had almost entirely sunny. It was right around 32 degrees when we began and warmed up as the day went by. The section from the road end to the lake was the most interesting. Suzanne found a moderate route on her previous visit. The other members of that group took a much harder route and she reached the lake more than half an hour before them.

David remembered a slightly harder route but not too difficult. We followed ski tracks into the forest. The immediate creek crossing was easy as the whole creek is under a bridge of snow. After about 10 minutes we opted to don our snowshoes. The route continued off to our right at a moderate grade. Then the grade became much steeper. We were to the left of what we thought was the lake's outlet creek. Except it wasn't. Soon we were making long sidehill traverses and switchbacks. In places I was lucky to get half a snowshoe to bite on the steep slope.

The snow was mostly soft with some very hard patches. David had mentioned a very steep short section. Well it went on and on. We climbed a few hundred feet on this crap before some moderation. At long last we topped out, made a few ups and downs, and descended to Lichtenwasser Lake. I was not looking forward to descending the route he had come up.

Skiers Near Lake
Skiers Near Lake
Mt. McCausland
Mt. McCausland

The lake is covered by many feet of snow. It was in bright sunshine. After the climb we were all pretty warm. This was a good place to stop for lunch. With our late start it was nearly 1:00 PM already. I was not feeling that great so I headed off first across the lake. We had met the skiers again at the lake and they headed off first. I followed their tracks. The track was near the right (west) shore and took me to the southwest corner of the 4704' lake.

A Peak Above Lake
A Peak Above Lake
Lichtenwasser Lake
Lichtenwasser Lake
Crossing Lake
Crossing Lake

Suzanne's dog Gusto followed me. A few minutes later the rest of the group arrived. Now things became more interesting. Only David had been beyond the lake and he did not go far. We were on our own now. I read a dozen trip reports online and none of them seemed to correlate with what I saw above us. On the positive side we saw the big Everett group reach the lake. The group was open to all and I could not believe they came up a route as difficult as ours. They must have known a better route. We planned to follow their prints back down.

The Everett group is run by Alpine Andy. He has managed to make a job out of leading hikes. More power to him. His site with info on Everett Parks trips and a schedule is at: AlpineAndy.com. We followed the ski tracks up a drainage angling a little to our right. Now we could see the summit and the ridges to it's right and left. The left ridge looked gentler on top but was extremely corniced. The ridge to the right looked steeper to attain and steeper near the summit but with no cornices. We chose to leave the ski tracks and head to our right and the ridge right of the summit. This would be the northeast ridge The other ridge trended to the southeast.

Starting Up
Starting Up
SE Ridge
SE Ridge
Summit
Summit
Opus
Opus
Peak Behind Lake
Peak Behind Lake
Fran & Opus
Fran & Opus

Our route began to get steeper. Then it became even steeper. nearer the ridge it became steeper still. The snow was soft enough to put in a pretty good snowshoe step but did break away a bit. It seemed too soft to kick steps in boots alone. Fran became uncomfortable and chose to head farther left in hopes of finding gentler terrain. Our route finally moderated just before reaching the ridge.

Steep
Steep
Almost To NE Ridge
Almost To NE Ridge
Suzanne Below Summit
Suzanne Below Summit
View From NE Ridge
View From NE Ridge
Sloan Peak
Sloan Peak
Columbia & Monte Cristo
Columbia & Monte Cristo
Rock Mountain
Rock Mountain

From the ridge top we were a few hundred feet at most below the summit. We could see the last 50' were very steep. Too steep for these snow conditions. Jack and Suzanne went around the summit block on the right (north) side. A very steep but open slope seemed to go to the top. It seemed a little too steep for our group. We headed back to the ridge then dropped down below the summit into a high basin. Straight up looked possible but again became extremely steep the last 50'. We considered calling it a day and heading back down. I could see a notch on the southeast ridge that broke the line of cornices. Barry and I chose to head over and see if we could climb it and if the southeast ridge was a walk up.

Descending NE Ridge
Descending NE Ridge
Under Summit
Under Summit
Daniel & Hinman
Daniel & Hinman

Barry went ahead and I followed. Right below the notch was steep but no worse than we had done earlier. We popped up on the ridge top and could see a very moderate slope up to the summit. We yelled back to the others and they began to head our way. One thing we could see on the ridge was that several cornices had long deep cracks. Not much is holding them up. We made sure to stay well to the left of them. The rest of the group soon arrived and we headed on up. In short order we were on the summit. It was already 2:45 so we did not have much time to spend on top. With our detours it took us 4 hours to summit.

Southeast Ridge
Southeast Ridge
Middle E On Summit
Middle E On Summit
Above McCausland
Above McCausland
Glacier Peak
Glacier Peak
Group On Summit
Group On Summit

We made sure to get photos of the amazing 360 degree view. There are no taller peaks nearby so we could see from Mt. Baker to Sloan to Glacier Peak to McCausland right next door and on to Rock, Stuart, Daniel, and multitudes more. There were now some high clouds but mostly blue sky. The wind picked up on the ridge top and it was chilly on top. After all too short a stay we headed down. At the notch in the ridge we took off snowshoes and plunge stepped on down. It was steep but the snow was now soft enough to provide solid steps.

SE Ridge
SE Ridge
Mt. Stuart
Mt. Stuart
The Cradle
The Cradle
Descending Ridge
Descending Ridge
Silhouette
Silhouette

We reached a bench then went left then right to get through trees and back onto open slopes. In very short order we were back on our route up. We went back to snowshoes and dropped to the lake. I finished my lunch at the lake and we had no trouble finding the tracks of the dozen Everett snowshoers. Thank you Alpine Andy. The route we took down was much easier than our route up. Very little sidehilling and we even glissaded a few short steep sections. It really did not take long to reach the road once again.

Lake Below
Lake Below
Suzanne Descending
Suzanne Descending
Bright & Dark
Bright & Dark
Reforming Group
Reforming Group
Sun On Peak
Sun On Peak
Recrossing Lake
Recrossing Lake
Short Glissage
Short Glissage

Most of us took off our snowshoes here. The road had softened up in the sunshine but most of it was in shady forest. After a little postholing we were back in trees and the track became hard once again. Any road walk at the end of a climb seems to go on and on and this one is no exception. We stumbled back to the top of the 10 foot snow wall above the highway at 4:55. It took us almost exactly two hours to descend from the summit. For the day we traveled about 8 miles with 2900' gained.

What a terrific day! Blue sky and blindingly white snow. Some challenging terrain and some route finding questions. We had to puzzle out just how to get that last bit to the summit. After a dismal record of failures David and I have now reached our objective three weeks in a row. It seems like that curse is over. I hope for at least a few winter climbs where the sky is blue and the white clad peaks are laid out in all their splendor. This one certainly qualified. For Gusto, it was the first of many summits to come. Thanks to Suzanne for the destination and to everyone else for making it such a memorable day.

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Hiking Northwest
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TrailPair
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Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 1700 | TRs

TrailPair
Member
PostMon Feb 25, 2008 10:09 am 
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Was that group crossing Lichtenwasser trying to spell out a message in the snow?  If so, they needed better management.....just the thing that The Driver could do! lol.gif

Excellent trip and photos.  Our trip to MacCauland on Sunday was not so photogentic...but it was still fun.  cool.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 844 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Gabigabs
Trail Breaker
PostMon Feb 25, 2008 10:46 am 
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Three summits in a row... way to go! Awesome pics.

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Life is simple... Eat, Sleep, Hike!
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
viewbagger
PostMon Feb 25, 2008 3:19 pm 
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How was the snow on the steeper grades ?
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3549 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostMon Feb 25, 2008 3:22 pm 
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The snow was pretty good.  It seemed a little too soft to kick steps in but it packed well for supporting snowshoes.  Once we crossed over onto the ridge above the cornice it was much more hard packed and a little icy.  Jack took his snowshoes off and it supported his weight there.  We were able to plunge step down off the ridge easily.  Everything seemed pretty consolidated too.
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
viewbagger
PostMon Feb 25, 2008 3:45 pm 
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up.gif Thanks !
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