Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Crawford Lake 9.3.03

The goal for this trip was to overnight at Crawford Lake and also visit Chetwoot Lake and if things went well Iron Cap Lake. As usual for me things don't always go as planned. I got an early start, for me anyway, but with the Middle Fork Rd as slow as usual I didn' reach the Dutch Miller Trailhead until nearly noon. By this time it was scorching hot with little wind to cool off. I reached Crawford Creek in an hour, but the plan was to jump off trail as high as possible. Just after I passed the creek I met three ladies on their way out. They had been at Williams Lk since Saturday and had gone to Chain Lakes as well as La Bohn Lakes. I exchanged pleasantaries and marveled at the ages of the woman. I mean no disrespect but I hope I am still carrying a full pack when I am their age. Shortly after passing the ladies I jumped of trail just before the trail starts to decline at approx 3600ft. I climbed a hundred or so feet before I realized this climb would be better suited for a half pack and a cool morning. I returned back to the trail and repassed (much to their suprise) the ladies and set up camp at one of the campsites near Crawford Crk. I lounged the rest of the day getting some much needed relaxation. I woke up a 6am and had breakfast and repacked(much lighter) and was off. I was very suprised that it was already quite warm. I again left trail this time climbing up steeply to catch the distinct ridge that I would follow most of the way to the lake. Things went pretty straight forward it does become quite steep from 4700 to 5000ft. At 5000ft I caught the outlet stream and followed it to the lake. I dropped pack and snapped some pictures and then was off to the saddle to the NW above the lake. I picked my way along the west side boulder fields and climbed to the small lake above Crawford. Much to my suprise it was mostly dried up. I climbed easily to the saddle and was treated to a perspective of the Alpine Lks that I am quite sure is seldom seen. I did not see an obvious route down to Chetwoot, I had planned on climbing over the much higher saddle to the NE of the lake. It seems like reaching that saddle wouldn't be too difficult. The drop from there seems much more safe. I dropped back to my pack taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery I have had the privilege to see. I then set off for the descent. Although I didn't have too much problem with the steep portion on the way up, it was much more difficult on the way down. I really wished I had an ice ax, due to the lack of any footing. I was much relieved when I dropped the steeper portion and returned to much easier lower slopes. The overall descent went much quicker than expected, and soon I was back to my tent. I packed up and was off to the truck.

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