Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lumiere Ridge 5651' 6.26.12

   Once again the weather gods were not going to be with me. I felt like I needed to head East to find bluer pastures. I again didn't want to get up super early so I struggled to find a back up. I thought the rain probably wouldn't be too heavy and If I could find a brushless route I felt like a walk in the rain wouldn't be the worst way to spend the day. I had been up nearly to the summit of Lumiere Ridge #82 on the Back Court 100 on a very warm day. Once reaching the summit ridge I met a heavily corniced ridge acting like a sprinkler system. Already having seen some slow moving slide on that day I didn't want to tempt fate for the last 50' of climb. I knew today I wouldn't have any similar issues. I left the house rather late and didn't reach the Steven's Pass Ski Area until nearly 2pm. With the long days I felt like I had plenty of time. The weather was more like November than late June and I was forced to put on my winter pants and shell.

Hard to believe it is almost July!

   Instead of trying to follow the PCT I instead headed to the lodge to acess the ski runs. I had done this route a couple of times in the past and I steamed up the slopes until I reached the ridge line near 5100'. The snow was reseptive so I stayed just in boots. Once cresting the ridge I was tempted to glissade to the bottom of the hill on the other side. I couldn't see more than 50' making that less than ideal. I easily made it to the bottom and started a descending traverse. The goal was to make it to Lake Susan Jane. I remember my last trip and the snowmobilers highmarking the steep gully directly South of the lake. On that trip I wanted to use that gully becasue it would put me a mere 500' below the summit. I didn't however use that gully in order to keep both myself and the dogs aways from the rocket sleds. Today I found less trafic as I started a mostly level traverse at 4600'. I found a gully that I was sure wasn't the one I wanted but I was intrigqued on how close I could get to Power Outage Peak 5480 which is a smaller highpoint on Lumiere Ridge. For this steepish gully I put on crampons and found pretty straightforward going to the ridge line. Once on the ridgline I could see the peak 100' above me but with portions of it shrouded in clouds I couldn't see a good route. I thought I remember reading it to be more involved that what I was looking for on this day.

 I retreated down the gully and resumed my way to LSJ. I was able to find open going and without issue I was at the lake.

   The gully heading South looked rather steep but I thought I would give it a go. The middle portion is the steepest and the grade does back off near the top. I thankfully was able to top out on a small saddle with a convenient fallen tree to sit on and assess my next move. Since I was directly below the summit I started up straight towards it. The grade was similar to the approach gully. I reached a 15' portion that was very steep and icy. I thought better of trying to continue despite the fact that so close was more benign terrain. After dropping down I traveresed South and found a more pleasing area to attack the upper slopes.  Soon I was on the summit ridge at the spot where I had stopped on my last attempt. I followed the ridge NW finding some melted out areas with stunted trees and large rocks making interesting walking in crampons. Since it wasn't far I soon made the summit which was a couple of large rocks piled on top of each other. I touched the highest point and did  a quick scan for a summit register which I wasn't able to locate. I didn't linger long since it was wet, cold and windy. I easily retraced my route to the gully and found the descent of the gully less difficult that what I had feared.

   Now all I had to do was follow my footprints back to 4600' and then find the will to reclimb the 500' to get back to the top of the ski runs. I kept plugging away and I found myself at the saddle and was greeted with some of the stiffest rain and wind of the day. I quickly stowed my crampons and eagerly glissaded to the bottom of the runs. Shortly thereafter I reached the car for dry clothes. Hard to believe it is nearly July. The weather was more Winter like and there is between 6 and 10 feet of snow remaining in most areas of the rute I took. It was good to knock another peak off my list. Lumiere was #100 for me of the Home/Back Court 200. Halfway there!

Approx 7 miles 3200' of climb 5 hours car to car

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