Okay, Ben and I have officially taken extreme snowshoeing to a new level. And I’m not exactly saying this is a good thing.
Simple little shoe – just Mount Lepsoe. No big deal. Besides, KMC members had laid in a nice track – they did the trip the day before.
We set off in rather chilly conditions with a surprisingly strong wind – but we were in the trees soon enough so all was good. When we got to the turnoff for Lepsoe Cabin the tracks stopped.
Oh well – we started breaking trail. The snow was deep. It was heavy. In many places it was crusty. We forged on and up. Ben had the idea that instead of going around the shoulder of Lepsoe, we could simply ascend straight up the west ridge. Well – why not?
The answer to that was wind – holy heck. We estimated minus 30 with the wind chill. That also meant that the wind had blown the snow into hard ridges – and us breaking trail. Whew! We rotated frequently.
The wind blew. We forged on. One gust high on the ridge blew me off my feet – in the right direction, meaning not into the abyss but into a tree. Nice.
Ben mentioned we could turn back. Hell no, I said, grabbing my buff and pulling it up over my face (my face hurt!) Better, except now I couldn’t breathe and oddly enough, I discovered that you need to breathe when you’re struggling uphill.
We continued. And, surprise! We made it to the top. Bigger surprise: no wind at the top! Awesome! It had taken us 3 hours and 15 minutes. We stomped out a circle, put on our warmest gear and hunkered down for lunch. It was a quick lunch – very quick. And then – off to the north ridge. This is the steep ridge. In other words, this is the fun way to go down. Fun and fast – and – um – really windy again.
We zoomed down, hit Sunspot Cabin and then galumphed unceremoniously down the Old Growth trail to the car park – where we ran into Rick who had been up our way for a short bit and had found and picked up the snowshoe tail Ben had lost!
However, no one found the sunglasses Ben had lost.