Monday, April 30, 2007

Scenic Creek, Hamada Lake, Lower Murphy Lake 4.30.07

Todays goal was a summit of K9 by the seldom used Scenic Creek Route. I was pleased to again be joined by Coasty for the day's adventure. We arrived at our jump off point a little later than I had planned. I had hoped to use the road that leads to the Surprise Lake trail as a jump-off point. The crux of the day for me was getting us started on the right foot. I took the left fork of the road instead of going right towards the Surprise Lake Trailhead. We drove a few hundred yards in and parked. The first portion climbed somewhat steeply in mostly open forest until we reached a field of Devil's Club. I wanted to reach the access road that runs under the power lines. The field of Devil's Club was passable and we popped out on the road just before it is crossed by Scenic Creek. I found a flagged start to a fisherman's trail I was hoping would be there. The trail is not very defined but it is of little consequence because the going is open and easy.I was a little surprised that we did not hit snow until 3100ft we continued on with boots trying my best to lead us through the minefield of rotten snow. There are many feeder creek crossings along the way that must be crossed on snow bridges. Although none of the feeders are very big I always feel uneasy crossing these during the Spring melt. Although the snow was great I switched to snowshoes once we hit consolidated snow at around 3600ft. Once on consolidated snow I found it a very pleasurable route coupled with the warm bright sunshine it was quite stunning. Most of the grade is less than moderate but it does increase before Hamada Lake. We stopped at Hamada and had a long lunch break. I felt we would not have enough time to make to K9's summit and be back in time for our evening's obligations. I was quite content to soak up the warm sun. I did have some anxious moments when Tanner fell into the lake while trying to drink some water. He couldn't make it up the steep snow bank to get back onto dry land. I ran around to the other end of the lake where I thought it would be easier for him. I had to laugh when I realized that he was able to stand in the very shallow water. Finally Tanner found his way and we all had a good laugh. After we packed up we decided to make our way to Murphy Lakes that were only a short distance away. I led us up to a fairly open steep slope which was soft enough to kick some good steps into. Soon we topped out and made the short balance of the way to the lower of the Murphy Lakes. We didn't stay long and soon we turned our attention to making our way down the steep slope. I half wanted to glissade down it but the runout was not very good. I just carefully and slowly side kicked my way down. The snow held me well enough to keep my heartbeat to a dull roar. The rest of the way out went quite quickly and we made it back to the access road. The drop to the car from there was a little unpleasant but we made without being scratched too badly. This is a wonderful route that I am sure I will repeat in the future. I think however I may try a different start to it. I think there maybe another road that directly accesses the power lines and then backtrack to the fisherman's trail.




Approx 7miles 2500ft of climb 5:30 car to car

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