It seems like Mother Nature wanted to be tricky this weekend with the forecast. We ended up with much more blue sky on Saturday than we bargained for. With another heavy snowfall on Friday night leaving avy danger considerable on Saturday we found ourselves trudging up Eightmile Road for the third weekend in a row. This time our destination was Colchuck Lake. The ski went pretty fast this time around. The snow has consolidated quite a bit with all the rain. In fact is was raining moderately when we started out. There is a solid main track in the road, but snowshoers seemed to be plodding along all over the place even on the skin track which makes things a bit less pleasant for skiers like us. Luckily, the three snowshoers directly ahead of us (also on their way to Colchuck Lake) stayed in the main snowshoe track and  there was enough un-trodden snow to make our own skin track off to the side.

We did not have to make our on trail or do any navigation one we left the road and entered the forest on the Stuart Lake Trail. There was a good track well beaten into the snow. It was a bit icy though from the rain of course. We ran into some folks with sleds coming down from Colchuck. The area is no longer deserted I supposed a spring was only days away. The bridge of Mountaineer Creek is definitely better crossed on foot and not on skis. There are a few holes where people punched through the snow, but crossing was decently secure.

The Bridge right after turning onto the Colchuck Lake Trail was more intimidating. Large holes in the snow n the bridge and it looked like it would need to be dug out. Luckily there were two snow bridges over the creek. we took the thicker one on the right. Once on the other side in the talus field the rain van ished and the sky turned blue. However, with the clear skies came high winds. We didn’t notice in during the initial climb through the forest up to the lake, but as we gained elevation and came to the open areas wind swirled the snow around us. It was actually pretty awesome!

We set up camp on the edge of Colchuck Lake in the early evening with great views of Dragontail, Aasgard Pass and Colchuck Peak. The Lake was windswept so we could see the turquoise blue ice and cyclones of snow as the wind swept over the plateau. The freezing level dropped and light snow fell making for a pretty perfect alpine evening in the Enchantments.

The morning dawned clear and cold as predicted. Very cold! The jounrey down ended up being a treacherous one. The snow was like stryofoam, perfect for crampon and horrible for skis. Damien managed to ski the entire way back down to the creek on the icy snow. I did a combination of walking and survival skiing. From the bridge we decided to mostly walk to the second bridge which proved to the the smart choice in the very frozen and narrow section of trail. We put the skies back on for the final 1.5 miles after the bridge, but it was rough going and our knees rattled the whole way back to the road. Luckily it was a quick ride back to the car from there, but our knees were still rattling on the ruts in the road from all the tracks. Still another fun weekend in the mountains… though we are really itching to climb!

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