Forum Index > Trip Reports > Rampart Lakes, Lila Lakes, Alta Mtn, 11/7-8/2020
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4234 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
  Top

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Nov 15, 2020 11:48 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dates:  November 7-8, 2020
Destination:  Rampart Lakes, Lila Lakes, Alta Mtn, via backdoor route from Rocky Run Creek
Party:  Matt, Carla (Dicey)

I like hiking past networks of tarns and lakes, and this trip includes dozens of them.  I especially like this transitional time of year when the tarns are a mix of open water, silvery new ice, fresh snow, and kaleidoscopic patterns of them mixing all together.

Short Version:
It snowed all day on Saturday while hiking in and setting up camp.
Overnight, Lila Lake changed from open water to fresh ice across the entire lake.
Sunday morning was sunny for a hike through fresh powder up Alta Mountain.
Clouds and winter returned as we hiked out.

Freshly frozen Lila Lakes
Freshly frozen Lila Lakes
Upper Lila tarns and Lila Lake from Alta Ridge
Upper Lila tarns and Lila Lake from Alta Ridge
Highest Rampart Lake freezing over
Highest Rampart Lake freezing over
GPS Track, yellow line is this trip
GPS Track, yellow line is this trip

Saturday

Rocky Run to Rampart Lakes to Lila Lakes (10:20am - 3:40pm)

It was snowy hiking past Lake Lillian and up to Rampart Lakes.  There was one set of tracks ahead of us for most of the way, but no one at the lakes.

The larger Rampart Lakes were still open water, with a breeze making choppy waves across the surface.  I mostly enjoyed the ice and snow patters on the smaller tarns.

Carla hiking above snowy Lake Lillian
Carla hiking above snowy Lake Lillian
Drifting snow on ice.
Drifting snow on ice.
My favorite Rampart tarn with its island and snow patterns
My favorite Rampart tarn with its island and snow patterns

Evening at Lila Lake Camp

With cloudy darkness closing in, I neglected to take any photos at camp.  We set up our tent on snow near the tarn above Lila Lakes.  Down below, the main lake was all open water, except for on small patch of ice near the island.  Our main challenge was keeping occupied during the long, cold, snowy evening.

For dinner, we found a sheltered alcove under trees where we could escape the snow while cooking lots of hot food and beverages.  I discovered that I had forgotten my spare gloves, so had to sleep wearing the damp gloves to dry them out.  Dry hands are a welcome luxury for camp.

Still too early to sleep, so we listened to podcasts on Carla's phone in the tent.  Dozed for awhile.  Woke up after a couple hours to eat snacks and listen to another podcast.

Later on, the tent became warmer.  Why?  Because falling snow was covering it.  Periodically we slapped the walls to knock it down.  But then it piled up at the bottom edges and wanted to fall inward on our gear.  When I went outside, I wanted to move the snow but not get my hands wet again, so I used a spare map to sweep away the light powder.  Carla laughed at me for using the map as a shovel.

Sometime after midnight the skies cleared and a bright moon lit up the scene.  Wish I'd taken a photo, but it was cold and a bit breezy.  Feels like I'm becoming less resistant to cold camping.

Me accumulating a bit of snow
Me accumulating a bit of snow
Camp the next morning, after digging gear out of the drifted powder.
Camp the next morning, after digging gear out of the drifted powder.

Sunday

Morning at Lila Lakes Camp

The morning came up clear.  Clouds blocked the sunrise, but hints of color lured me out of the tent to take photos.  Overnight, the entire surface of Lila Lake had turned to ice, which gleamed like a mirror in the morning twilight.

Lila Lake frozen in the dawn light.
Lila Lake frozen in the dawn light.
My shadow standing on a frozen tarn near camp.
My shadow standing on a frozen tarn near camp.

Alta Mountain (8:20am noon)

Hiking up Alta, we found fresh snow running calf-deep to sometimes knee-deep.  We were surprised to find the indented trace of recent tracks on the lower half of the crest.

The light powder was easy to walk through, but required caution for the hidden ground underneath, because you couldn't see whether the next step would find firm soil, lumpy brush, or ice-slick rock.  Carla went partway up wearing micro-spikes, and I finished to the summit wearing regular crampons.

Along the way, I enjoyed the patterns of the upper Lila tarns in the basin below, and was surprised to see a line of fresh tracks running all the way along them.

Something has been out and traveling before us
Something has been out and traveling before us
Kicking steps upward to the ridge crest
Kicking steps upward to the ridge crest
Ridge running on the crest
Ridge running on the crest
Upper Lila tarns (with some fresh tracks nearby)
Upper Lila tarns (with some fresh tracks nearby)
Still further to the summit, and one narrow spot
Still further to the summit, and one narrow spot

Alta summit views:

Looking north from Alta summit
Looking north from Alta summit
Looking south from Alta summit
Looking south from Alta summit
Mt. Thompson & Alaska Lake
Mt. Thompson & Alaska Lake
You can still see the line of the PCT cutting across the face of Chikamin (above the red x's)
You can still see the line of the PCT cutting across the face of Chikamin (above the red x's)
Distant view of Rampart Lakes
Distant view of Rampart Lakes

Hiking back down:

tracks past a steeper part
tracks past a steeper part
Sunshine, icicles, and powder
Sunshine, icicles, and powder
Lila Lake.  The small lighter patch near the island was the only part frozen yesterday.  The darker lines I think are freezing cracks rather than tracks.
Lila Lake.  The small lighter patch near the island was the only part frozen yesterday.  The darker lines I think are freezing cracks rather than tracks.

Lila Camp to Rocky Run Trailhead (12:45-5:00pm)

Clouds returned as we hiked out.  We would have made it out just before dark, but accidentally followed tracks onto the Margaret Lake trail, a common error on this route.  Hint to self go downhill, not up.

Looking down at Rachel Lake
Looking down at Rachel Lake
Ice forming dendrite patterns on the tarns, what will they think about all winter long under the snow?
Ice forming dendrite patterns on the tarns, what will they think about all winter long under the snow?
My favorite tarn with more snow on it now
My favorite tarn with more snow on it now
Trees reflecting on ice
Trees reflecting on ice
Last light through the trees
Last light through the trees
Fresh snow on my car at the trailhead
Fresh snow on my car at the trailhead

Stats: 12 miles, 4020 cumulative gain

Historical Footnote
Lila Lake had the first mountain island that I ever swam to, in late July 1990.
Alta Mountain was the 10th peak I summited in the Cascades.  Hiking up the ridge in midsummer, it felt like ascending a knee-high ramp of flowers into the sky.

The Joys of Sleeping at Home after Snow Camping
Sunday night, I recognized yet another advantage of sleeping at home compared to a tent in winter.  Of course there are routine comforts of warm blankets, soft sheets, supportive mattress, and an actual pillow.  But there's also the unexpected pleasure of being able to simply roll over, without the extra effort to turn around in a narrow space while wearing multiple layers of clothes, avoid twisting the sleeping bag, and rearrange the several water bottles, spare gloves, and other hardware that are all sharing the bag with me.

--------------
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
zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



Joined: 24 Jun 2018
Posts: 116 | TRs
Location: Seattle
zimmertr
  Top

TJ Zimmerman
PostSun Nov 15, 2020 8:16 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nice! How was the slab on the backdoor route in those conditions?
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: 4234 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
  Top

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Nov 15, 2020 10:14 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The slab was coated with ice.  But there's an alternate route.  Just before you arrive at the lake, there's a trail leading rightward that takes you up about 50 feet, then around and back down beyond the slab.

--------------
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
geyer
Member
Member


Joined: 23 May 2017
Posts: 387 | TRs
Location: Seattle
geyer
  Top

Member
PostMon Nov 16, 2020 2:14 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nice little trip Matt! Kyle and I were up there a few weeks prior in a complete whiteout and saw absolutely nothing. Maybe we should have stayed a second day like you for the good weather.
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
Nancyann
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2013
Posts: 1821 | TRs
Location: Sultan Basin
Nancyann
  Top

Member
PostMon Nov 16, 2020 4:00 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Beautiful photos from a challenging trip. That takes quite a bit of fortitude to spend that much time in such cold conditions.
I could really relate to your comments about returning home after such an outing and enjoying the comforts of home. Sometimes when Im on a long trip, a good nights sleep is hard to come by. My motto is I didnt come here to sleep, I am here to adventure in the wilderness! But when I finally do get home and have a good nights sleep, its awfully nice! agree.gif
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
Brushbuffalo
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2015
Posts: 1698 | TRs
Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
Brushbuffalo
  Top

Member
PostMon Nov 16, 2020 5:14 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt wrote:
Feels like I'm becoming less resistant to cold camping.

I agree with Nancy, only more.  In all my zillion nights sleeping out, there aren't many I have slept really well! redface.gif  I agree with you....the home bed is awfully nice!

Wait 'til you reach 'middle age, stage two' , Matt! It gets worse.  agree.gif

Don't suppose you did a ( very) quick dip on this trip!  Water seems colder as I ( we?) pile on the years.

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6750 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
  Top

Mid Fork Rocks
PostMon Nov 16, 2020 6:56 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt wrote:
Carla hiking above snowy Lake Lillian
Carla hiking above snowy Lake Lillian

I really like this photo, partly because the cold wintry look is so different from most of my trips past Lake Lillian. The snow flakes came out great.

I enjoyed your other panoramas and labeled photos as well.

Nice trip!

--------------
Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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
Damian
Member
Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 3224 | TRs

Damian
  Top

Member
PostMon Nov 16, 2020 7:14 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Great stuff Matt.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
timberghost
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 595 | TRs

timberghost
  Top

Member
PostTue Nov 17, 2020 6:52 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
great fall hike
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
Roald
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 350 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Roald
  Top

Member
PostFri Nov 20, 2020 11:59 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Beautiful!  Nice to hear from you two.
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
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Rampart Lakes, Lila Lakes, Alta Mtn, 11/7-8/2020
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