Monday, March 19, 2007

Denny Creek 3.19.07

I had planned this trip during my last week's trip and in retrospect I wish I would have waited. I have a tendency to fixate on a goal and make it fit whether the conditions cooperate or not. I was suprised to see some fellow NWhikers looking for some company on a non holiday Monday. After an endless amount of PMs back and forth I had the pleasure of some company. Yana braved my most irritating companions and my deadset poor trip choice. I was glad to get an early start I was hoping to outrun the incoming weather. I was hoping to use the Denny Creek Trail to try for Low Mt's summit. I knew the avy conditions were going to deteriorate as the day wore on, but my intended off trail route had very little exposure so I felt it would be ok. What I failed to consider was the higher exposure on the actual trail. We were forced to park about a 1.5 miles short of the trailhead because the road hadn't been plowed any further. The weather was actually quite nice to start as we made our way to the trailhead. Once reaching the trailhead there was enough previous foot traffic to make the route finding mostly easy. The first crossing of Denny Creek was only mildly annoying but the second was quite interesting. I was just able to span the drop to the bridge by holding a small tree and hope that my boot would hold on the slippery handrail. Once I was on the bridge deck I had to ""gently persuade"" the dogs down and then help Yana. Getting off the bridge was almost as challenging. Once on safe ground we snowshoed up and were off. I had forgotten how open the area above the creek crossing was. There was some consolidated avalanche debris to cross. I tried to stay in the shelter of the trees as much as possible. Once we neared the basin headwall there was no shelter from the avy slopes and the avalanche debris continued over the edge and dropped to the Creek well below us. After some deliberation I think we both agreed that at the time the danger wasn't great but we both were concerned with having to return later in the day when the danger was sure to be very much increased. Yana suggested trying to summit via Denny Lake, but I wasn't comfortable with being so far off our intended route. I always leave explicit directions with the spousal unit and I do my best not to deviate too much. We back tracked to a more sheltered area and had a short lunch. The crux of the return was again having to cross the bridge. I didn't have too much trouble shot putting the beagle up the 8ft bank but hefting the 100 pound shepard gave me a little more trouble. Thankfully both Yana and I were able to make it up the bank under our own power. We made it back to the car just as the rain started. For once the weather man had it right.

approx 7 miles 900ft of gain and 4 hours car to car.

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