Damien and I headed out for a backpack/scouting trip this weekend. The Enchantment permits were finally over and although weather and snow conditions were not promising for climbing Cashmere Mountain we decided to head in that direction anyway and scout out the route. We were happy to discover that Eightmile Road was still open. The trail was snow free to about 6000ish feet just before the pass above Lake Caroline. At the shore of Caroline there were a few sets of boot tracks and we got  abit turned around trying to identify the set of tracks that were actually following the trail to Little Lake Caroline .5 miles away. Although heavy rain was predicted we only experienced light to no rain right until we set up our tent on Little Lake Caroline. Then a cold, steady rain settled in.

It was still early in the day though and less than stellar weather never really deters us, so we set out to take a look at the trail to Windy Pass. We wanted to start in the dark the next day so we figured we’d see what we were in for… plus we had a feeling that just a bit higher up the rain would turn to snow and we love snow! As we suspected the rain did turn to snow at about 6600 feet and it was beautiful! We turned back once we got to the basin 400ft from the pass so we could turn in early. There had been a boot track the whole way so we weren’t too concerned about finding our way to Windy Pass.

The next day we woke before the sun and headed out. The rain had turned to snow overnight and there was fresh dusting at our camp and thicker fresh powder the more elevation we gained. Boot prints were blown out starting just we we had turned back the afternoon before in the basin. We put on our snowshoes and pretty easily navigated up the the ridge line just right of Windy Pass enjoying a fiery sunrise the sunrise! The clear skies didn’t last though as as we followed the ridge snow began to fall. No trouble there though. It gave things a more alpine feel! The ridge to Cashmere was pretty mellow and broad until about 7600 feet where we reached a talus hump covered in the thin layer of fresh slippery snow. We were able to traverse this sketchy section, but at 7800 feet, just before the false summit we decided to call the scouting complete for the day. The rock there was much more vertical and climbing technical rock in thin, slippery snow was not on our agenda.

The snow cleared by the time we got back to camp and the sun appeared for the hike out. With all the fresh snow there a wonderful bounty of animal tracks on the trail! Winter is coming and I’m so so happy!

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