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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> High Pass, Winchester L.O. 8-14-10
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TrailPair
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Post Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:11 pm    High Pass, Winchester L.O. 8-14-10
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These have to be some of the prettiest ,  short hikes we have ever done eek.gif .  Due to the heat, we decided not to carry heavy backpacks.  Instead we set up a car camp at Twin Lakes and hiked both the High Pass trail and Winchester on Saturday.  What a great choice!

First of all, Twin Lakes are very nice, although crowded.  The temperature was comfortable, and minimal bugs.  We took the first open campsite we saw at the first lake, which was nice and fairly private.  The trailhead is between the two lakes, and the isthmus  was like a zoo....tents all over. However, you can't drive to the north side of the second lake, so no one was camped there.  So that is the best place to camp!

The trail to High Pass is gorgeous all the way. Just beyond Low Pass is a nice campsite with a small patch of snow.  Then at High Pass (5,900ft.) is a beautiful camp area with a larger snow patch and running water. From here the trail continues up another 600 ft. to a saddle on the shoulder of Larrabee (about 6500 ft.). Here we turned right and went to a HP (6600 ft.) with a spectacular bivy site, and plenty of snow for melting.

Back down at the junction we headed for Winchester.  The steep snow traverse mentioned in previous reports is still there, but now it can be totally avoided on an alternate (although steep) side trail which passes below.   Ice axes are no longer needed!

Winchester  has one of the best views we have ever seen at a L.O.  Both of these hikes give lots of views for relatively little energy.  These are hikes we would definitely do again, with a minor change.  Ideally, we would first hike Winchester in the morning, then return to the car to get our backpacks, and carry them to the spectacular site above High Pass. This would be the best opportunity for great photos.

Back at Twin Lakes, we had a calm night, and planned to hike to Church Mt.  L.O. on our way home on Sunday.


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Yeti
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Post Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:56 pm   
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Great photos, I love that area.  How is the road to Twin Lakes?
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TrailPair
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Post Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:50 am   
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Yeti wrote:
Great photos, I love that area.  How is the road to Twin Lakes?

The road past the YAB TH was not any worse than the lower section, except for a couple of dips.  It was better than we were expecting!

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hikeswithgenghis
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Post Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:21 am    larch?
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I'm curious if there are many larch trees.  I'm scouting for hikes for October.  Thx.
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TrailPair
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Post Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:34 pm    Re: larch?
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hikeswithgenghis wrote:
I'm curious if there are many larch trees.  I'm scouting for hikes for October.  Thx.

Nope....not a place for larching.  Some of our favorite larch hikes include Headlight Basin  cool.gif  or maybe Cutthroat Pass,  agree.gif  or Wing Lake  winksmile.gif  or Carne Basin  dizzy.gif

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TrailPair
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Post Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:23 am   
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We forgot to add the stats to this report.
For both Winchester and going 600ft. above High Pass:

Elevation gain: 3,200 ft.
Distance: 12 miles.

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Magellan
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Post Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:37 am   
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Nice pictures.  Thanks for sharing.   up.gif   I'm hoping to take the family there soon.  Can you give the roundtrip/gain just for Winchester?  Is it open for overnighters?
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TrailPair
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Post Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:07 am   
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Magellan wrote:
Nice pictures.  Thanks for sharing.   up.gif   I'm hoping to take the family there soon.  Can you give the roundtrip/gain just for Winchester?  Is it open for overnighters?

Winchester is short:3.8 miles RT, 1300ft. of gain.

According to my old guide book by the Copeland's(copyright 1996), reservations can be made to stay in the lookout  by contacting the Mt. Baker Hiking Club at 360-617-1219.  It would be interesting to know if this is still accurate information.

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Highwalker's Daughter
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Post Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:51 pm   
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Yes, they are scenic and short.  It's a lovely area if you can stand that road.  We snowshoed up it in winter - not as scary as driving it  smile.gif - sounds like it might be better these days, but I remember passing someone on the way out so we had to be on the outer edge and being rather terrified - I'm a sissy, though.  It was the dropoffs - kind of like Hart's Pass only not quite as undercut.

Last time I was up there in the summer the kids were really little - maybe 2 and 5.  At that time, it was definitely used for overnights through that Bellingham based hiking club.  There was only one short sketchy area for the kids - only if snow remains on it - that might have been about .75 mile up, but that was a few years ago - 15 to be exact.  Even camping at Twin Lakes was fun for them as they could fish, etc.  It was just super buggy the time we were there - that part wasn't fun.

Great pictures!
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GeoHiker
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Post Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:12 pm   
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Great pics, thanks it's good to see the area without many feet of snow.  When I was there 4 weeks ago I was told the LO is open for over nights and there are donation envelopes in the LO.  If the flag is flying that means someone is using the LO.  You can see the flag pole from S. Twin Lk. 

So the bugs weren't bad huh?  I've been chomping at the bit to get back up there, but was afraid the skeeters would be wicked.  Weather is looking great from Tuesday on, so this area is on top of my list to return.   Thanks for the report.   up.gif

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D. Inscho
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Post Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:15 am    Winchester LO
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Hi,
I take care of Winchester on behalf of the Mt. Baker Club.

Winchester is not a reservation-based LO; it is open to the public presently, and available as an emergency shelter through the wintery months (shutters closed).  The season is brief; shutters are secured just before the first snows around mid-Sept.  Enjoy and take good care!

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Highwalker's Daughter
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Post Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:31 am   
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Thanks for taking care of that lookout!
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Tazz
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Post Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:32 am    Re: larch?
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hikeswithgenghis wrote:
I'm curious if there are many larch trees.  I'm scouting for hikes for October.  Thx.

most larches are found EAST of the crest where it is drier.
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TrailPair
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Post Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:21 am   
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GeoHiker, when we were there last week we had no problem with bugs at all, except for a few at the lakes.

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