Location: Lone Eagle Cirque in the Indian Peaks Wilderness
Trailhead: Monarch Lake (This area is accessible from both sides of the divide.)
The day before our trip, I started feeling the sickness that my partner, Colin Trettel was still recovering from. Breathing became painful and no amount of water could make me feel hydrated. Colin’s voice was often completely gone during our trip. We decided it was still worth a go, considering the weather & snow coverage looked great, and we had no other windows this season to give it a shot.
Laughing at how heavy our packs were at the trailhead. It wasn’t as funny 10 hours later:
Morning One: Approach Day
We arrived at the trailhead at 7 am only to find the road was closed for about half a mile bringing our approach from 7.8 miles to 8.3. We were able to hike on dirt for the first couple miles, transitioning to skins at Cascade Creek. Route finding through the snow and the technical nature of some of the skinning quickly became the crux of the approach. 10 hours after leaving the car we stumbled into a campsite at Crater Lake.
Morning Two: Peck Glacier
We woke at 5 am. Colin’s pad had deflated from a puncture and he had spent the night (and remaining nights) shivering on the snow. Our 3 season tent and mediocre sleeping bags didn’t help us fight the cold at night very well. We slipped our feet into cold boots, and skinned around the north side of Crater Lake, to the bottom of the Lone Rabbit Couloir. We quickly realized this was not going to get sun for a couple hours, so we kept moving up to ski the Peck Glacier which was already receiving sun on lookers right. We climbed in the shade on lookers left and around noon made our turns down perfect corn skiers left. Skiing down to Lone Rabbit, we were out of water, and it had not been touched by the sun, even at 1 pm. We decided to call it a day and made our way back to camp.
Iphone view of Peck Glacier (Upper Left) from Crater Lake:
Colin leading with Lone Rabbit Couloir right in front of us and the very top of the Peck Glacier just barely visible in the background on the top right:
Myself leading up the apron: (Photo: Colin Trettle)
Myself following Colins track: (Photo: Colin Trettle)
Looking into my line:
iPhone zoom looking back at our tracks from the base of Lone Rabbit Couloir. Colins tracks start high lookers left, mine on the small spine entrance in the middle:
Colin riding it out to crater lake:
Myself doing the same. (Photo: Colin Trettle)
Morning Three: Mount George Couloir
Another 5 am alarm brought us wandering around the east side of Lone Eagle Peak towards Mount George. We quickly encountered the large boulder field going up to triangle lake. This was the first crux of the day, providing tricky areas of collapsing snow over gaps between large boulders. My sickness and the past two days were quickly catching up to me, even before arriving at the base of the couloir. This side of Lone Eagle contains beautiful ski terrain. On our way up the couloir, we measured a short section 2/3rds of the way up at 55°. The choke had an ice runnel right through the center and still hadn’t seen the sun when we dropped in around 2 pm. (We waited for at least an hour up top for conditions to soften.)
View of Mount George Couloir (center) from the top of the boulder field. Fair Glacier on the Left, unnamed couloirs on the right:
Putting the skis back on after the boulder field at Triangle Lake. (Photo: Colin Trettle)
Myself trying to stay in the shade on the steeper section of Mount George Couloir. (Photo: Colin Trettle)
Colin strapping in ready to drop.
Morning Four: Home
After Mount George Couloir we decided to head the following day (one day earlier than planned). My sickness was getting worse, and we were worried about my ability to get out if it were to take a more drastic turn the next day. Sections of the return featured technical downhill skinning that made the process slow and scary with that much weight on your pack in icy spring conditions. We got back to the car at 4:15 pm (Maybe 9 hours). Upon getting home and checking the weather, we were happy to have come out a day early, as a huge May storm rolled in the following day, dropping over 2 feet on the area.
Colin suffering through the final steps of the trip thinking about a cheeseburger, probably.