Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kachess Beacon 4615' 11.23.10

   With a great day playing in the lowland snow yesterday I was eager to get out again today. I did have concern over the very cold weather so I layered up with more layers than I have ever put on BEFORE even leaving the house. I was concerned about the roads after watching all the horror stories from last night's newscast. But I had no issues whatsoever. I was hoping to meet ONELUV1 but the roads near his house wouldn't allow for it. I left later than usual but the roads required care but they only slowed things slightly. I was hoping to climb Little Kachess Peak via Silver Creek. I new this was going to be tough with out any extra horsepower to break trail. The Kachess Dam Road is only plowed for a very short ways. The remainder had been driven on and gave me some concern because it was deeply rutted. I was able to make the new spur that leads to the Silver Creek Trailhead. This road was also recently travelled so I pushed on. The road soon became too deep for me to continue so I found a small area to back into keeping me off the road. Shortly after parking the rig that had broken trail passed me and was the only person I saw on this day.  Since I was already dressed I just added boots and gaiters and I was off.

  The  broken road made for quick walking and after a mile I was at the trailhead. Initially I decided not to put on snowshoes but the snow was very deep but thankfully was very low density. The trail was easy to follow and had few annoying blowdowns to negotiate. The temps were cold but not bothersome, I did switch to a full face mask to keep the snoticles to a minimum. I had done this route in the not too distant pass so that helped keep me heading the right direction. I passed the point where I had left trail on my last trip to Kachess Beacon. I stayed on trail and I realized that I wasn't going to have the legs to do this trip solo. I reached the point where the trail parallels Silver Creek and stopped to take a few pictures. Too bad for me the cold sucked all the power from the camera battery after taking 3 pictures.

  I felt pretty sapped but still had plenty of time. I pushed on, shortly I thereafter I ran into a very fresh deer track that crossed the trail heading up in the direction I had planned on going. I had planned on leaving the trail later but I thought it would be interesting to follow the deer. I pushed up and the snow was much improved there now was a base to the endless powder. I reached a small flat area that was easy to spot on the map. I now only had 800' more of climb to reach the beacon. Since this route was different than the one I used last year I thought I would give it a go. With a renewed sense of purpose I was able to zig zag around any obstacles and thankfully the grade was never too steep. Soon I was able to to reach the ridgeline joining the route I used on my previous attempt. The snow on the ridgeline was over 3 feet of powder and was really taking a toll on me. I kept pushing until the beacon came into view. Since I had already been there I gave some thought to calling it good. For some reason I felt it important to finish this one out, so I did. I didn't linger long even though there wasn't much wind and the temps didn't seem cold. I had expected sunny weather today but the whole day to this point was spent under extensive cloud cover. On the way down I started cramping in my hamstrings which is an unusual place for me to get cramps. As is the case cramps for me are insanely painful but thankfully they would quickly disappear. The route down went very quickly and I had no issues on my return to the car. I was treated with some brief sunshine making quite a beautiful sight. Once reaching the car I quickly changed and finally realized how cold it was. My layers kept me from a complete realization of exactly how cold it truly was. I had to laugh when everything started to freeze to my hands. I can't remember having to pry frozen keys off my hand. Although it wasn't exactly what I had planned it served it's purpose of maintaining my fitness level.

Approx 7 miles 2600' of climb  5 hours car to car

The rest of the pictures can be found here:


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