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April 14, 2010
Up to the lake today, then tried the ridgewalk above the lake.
There are about 10-12 serious mudholes on the trail in, plus the marsh before the lake. Expect muddy boots and watch your step. Alf's bridges are holding up fine. The first crossing right at the highway is now a 3 log bridge. You could rock hop the creek by the 2nd log bridge, but it has a hand rail, so why bother? The trail's not really obvious at the mudflow; flagging could help.
We ascended the south ridge at the end of the lake, but not by the "usual" route. The maps and descriptions say stay on the scree/treeline boundary, but you get to climb an extra 50 m doing that. So instead, we picked a minor gully that would be a waterfall in the rain and followed it up without issue and with pretty fair footing. When we got within 30 vertical meters of the ridge top, we were blocked by a small cliff, went around it, and stumbled on a well used elk trail that took us the rest of the way to the ridge top.
The ridge is uninteresting and seriously not worth the effort. Views are VERY limited. There are a fair number of larches on the ridge, but there are much better larch places, so it's not even worth it for that. There is only a VERY weak trail, so route finding is essential. And we failed to reach the "summit with the cairn". We got within 20 vertical meters but cliffed out on a knife edge ridge with 50° slopes on either side that we weren't willing to brave picking our way up. If someone does go up there who knows a safer route, please flag it. We did stand on top of the mudflow crossed on the trail, and it's obvious why that happened in the 2013 flood.
TONS of cow parsnip along the trail and by the lakes; once the bears find that, they'll have a heyday. One pile of (green, slimy, not berry) bear poo on the trail on the way out that was not there on the way in. No real shepherdia crop of note.
Watch for my blog to have photos in a day or so. http://DRandKC.blogspot.com
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