Forum Index > Trip Reports > West Blanca Point 5379, 11/10/12
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4178 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
  Top

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Nov 12, 2012 4:43 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Date:  11/10/12
Destination:  West Blanca Point 5379 (USGS Blanca Lake) 439P
Party:  Dicey, Yana, Gabriel D, Matt

We hiked to Blanca Lake and then to the 5379-foot high point west of the lake.

We never had clear views, but the clouds parted intermittently to give us tantalizing dramatic views of ridges & peaks, a bit of evening light, and of course the striking green tones of the lake.

Blanca West GPS Track
Blanca West GPS Track
Bagged for the season
Bagged for the season

The trail was frozen but passable under a thin coating of snow.  On the descent from Virgin Lake to Blanca Lake, we had brief views through the forest of icy cliffs rising above Troublesome Creek.

Snowy Trail
Snowy Trail
Glimpses of icy cliffs through the forest
Glimpses of icy cliffs through the forest
Another glimpse of the cold cliffy south side of Blanca West
Another glimpse of the cold cliffy south side of Blanca West

Blanca Lake lay unfrozen, still showing its rich green color, mostly muted under the gray clouds that hugged the ridges, but occasionally reflecting brief flashes of emerald and sapphire when bits of sky opened above.

Blanca Lake
Blanca Lake

Now we needed to follow Blanca's west shoreline to reach the base of our ridge.  To cross the lake's outlet, we had to work a long zigzag course way out across the logs that filled the shallows.  Some logs were big, some tiny, some just piles of branches, some covered with snow, some slightly submerged.  On our return, I counted 60 separate logs or branches that I stepped on to make it across.

Beyond that we skirted the lake on a rocky verge that provided just enough foot room to get around steeper slabs and obstacles.  The next bay provided a wider beach for walking, and then a gully that let us move up higher above the shoreline.

Crossing Blanca's outlet logjam
Crossing Blanca's outlet logjam
Working around the edge of Blanca
Working around the edge of Blanca
Moving up from the shoreline
Moving up from the shoreline

Here we made a mistake and headed up the side of the ridge too soon.  I used up at least a month's supply of cursing on the next hundred vertical feet.  It was steep icy brush, where every step left me either stuck against a tangle of branches or slipping downhill, or both.

Once atop the ridge, travel was much better, though still slippery.  I was much happier after I put on my crampons for better traction in the low snowy brush.

The lake provided a single thread of color woven through the otherwise mostly monochrome scene.  For a while, it was just a green band spread between the nearby trees and the far ridge.  Higher up, we could see more of Columbia Glacier north of the lake, and then parts of Kyes & Monte Cristo peaks.  Just once, for only a couple minutes, sunlight hit the lake itself, dappling it with glowing patches of emerald under the dark clouds.  Then it all disappeared again as we hiked higher up into the clouds.

Head of Blanca Lake with glimpses of Monte Cristo & Kyes
Head of Blanca Lake with glimpses of Monte Cristo & Kyes
Clouds & sky above Kyes
Clouds & sky above Kyes
Very brief sunlight on the lake
Very brief sunlight on the lake
Looking down on Blanca from higher up
Looking down on Blanca from higher up

The top of our ridge was entirely cloud-bound and snowing.

Blanca West summit group
Blanca West summit group
Summit view
Summit view
Snow accumulation on Gabriel's hat
Snow accumulation on Gabriel's hat

On the way down, we stayed more on the crest or north side of the ridge, which provided better terrain.  At the bottom, we found a trail above the lake that took us back to our previous track.

The final bay along the shoreline provided a decent beach for a swim.  The water was actually warmer than the air temperature.  The worst part was getting back into my clothes that had quickly become coated with snow.

Glorious weather departing the summit
Glorious weather departing the summit
Brief view on the way down
Brief view on the way down
An invigorating swim (the water was warmer than the air)
An invigorating swim (the water was warmer than the air)

Snow fell faster as we departed the lake.

Given the weather, it was a surprise to find two parties camped at the lake as we passed by.

Snowfall by the swimming bay
Snowfall by the swimming bay
Snowing at Blanca Lake
Snowing at Blanca Lake
Last look at the lake
Last look at the lake
Snowy sky on the trail up.
Snowy sky on the trail up.

The day offered a final treat.  On the ridge above Virgin Lake, skies cleared just enough to show peaks in the distance and evening sunlight on the treetops.

Evening light on the snowy cliffs
Evening light on the snowy cliffs
Columbia Peak above Virgin Lake
Columbia Peak above Virgin Lake
Kyes reappears
Kyes reappears

As we departed the high vantage, shifting mist and evening light made ethereal layers among the trees.

Kyes, trees & fog
Kyes, trees & fog
Columbia, trees & fog
Columbia, trees & fog
Hillside in the mist
Hillside in the mist
Trees in the mist
Trees in the mist

Stats:  10.6 miles, 4880 cumulative gain, 10 hours

Also #599 liftetime peaks in the Cascades for me.

Crossing the Blanca Lake Logjam

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
LadyĆsa
Surefooted Spitfire



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 671 | TRs
Location: Custer, Whatcom County, WA
LadyĆsa
  Top

Surefooted Spitfire
PostMon Nov 12, 2012 5:41 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Beautiful!!

--------------
"We have one chance, one chance, to get everything right. We have one chance, one chance, and if we're lucky we might." One Chance, Modest Mouse
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
twodogdad
Member
Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 844 | TRs
Location: seattle
twodogdad
  Top

Member
PostMon Nov 12, 2012 5:57 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt wrote:
An invigorating swim (the water was warmer than the air)
An invigorating swim (the water was warmer than the air)

You're the man!

I thought you'd have your famous cup of tea after the swim.

N
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Hulksmash
Cleaning up.



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 7113 | TRs
Location: Arlington
Hulksmash
  Top

Cleaning up.
PostTue Nov 13, 2012 2:19 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
twodogdad wrote:
Matt wrote:
An invigorating swim (the water was warmer than the air)
An invigorating swim (the water was warmer than the air)

You're the man!

I thought you'd have your famous cup of tea after the swim.

N

I've been know to do a polar bear dip my self.  But no way i would do that there with out a camp fire already burning, or some other method to warm up after.

--------------
"Bears couldn't care less about us....we smell bad and don't taste too good. Bugs on the other hand see us as vending machines." - WetDog

Albuterol! it's the 11th essential
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 6226 | TRs
Location: kenmore
iron
  Top

getting old
PostTue Nov 13, 2012 11:23 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt wrote:
Very brief sunlight on the lake
Very brief sunlight on the lake

hard to pick a favorite pic, but i think this is a truly stunning shot. those muted colors combined with the normally unreal colors of blanca lake make for a doubly unreal combo. stellar all around!

--------------
man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 6226 | TRs
Location: kenmore
iron
  Top

getting old
PostTue Nov 13, 2012 11:27 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
oh yeah, how's the road to jack pass?

--------------
man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana
Hater



Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 4214 | TRs
Location: Out Hating
Yana
  Top

Hater
PostTue Nov 13, 2012 6:39 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Devoid of snow and in good shape.

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4178 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
  Top

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostTue Nov 13, 2012 10:05 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Of course, that was before the most recent snowstorm.

It was also densely foggy.  Yana did a heroic job driving through it.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
pimaCanyon
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2007
Posts: 1267 | TRs
Location: at the bottom of the map
pimaCanyon
  Top

Member
PostWed Nov 14, 2012 10:11 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
you guys do the coolest trips!  I admire your commitment to getting out.  By November I would be holing up at home in front of the fire or maybe walking the beach, in between rain showers.  :-)

Great photos!

--------------
It's never too late to have a happy childhood
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Stefan
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4443 | TRs

Stefan
  Top

Member
PostWed Nov 14, 2012 11:29 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
swimming in that stuff.  amazing!

--------------
Art is an adventure.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
touron
Member
Member


Joined: 15 Sep 2003
Posts: 10298 | TRs
Location: Plymouth Rock
touron
  Top

Member
PostWed Nov 14, 2012 7:05 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Hulksmash wrote:


I've been know to do a polar bear dip my self.  But no way i would do that there with out a camp fire already burning, or some other method to warm up after.

Delete: campfire
Add: bonfire

--------------
Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
dicey
custom title



Joined: 11 May 2004
Posts: 2863 | TRs
Location: giving cornices a wider berth
dicey
  Top

custom title
PostWed Nov 14, 2012 7:32 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The video commentary is priceless.  Nothing like having your friends rooting for you to fall in!   dizzy.gif

--------------
I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
raising3hikers
Member
Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 1960 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, Wa
raising3hikers
  Top

Member
PostThu Nov 15, 2012 9:33 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
up.gif  beautiful pics.  Nice time to visit that area

--------------
Eric Eames
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > West Blanca Point 5379, 11/10/12
  Happy Birthday RobfromFLA!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy