Ascent of Fish Lake Hightop on 2014-04-06

Climber: Andrew Sharp

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, April 6, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Fish Lake Hightop
    Elevation:11633 ft / 3545 m

Ascent Trip Report

I arrived at Fish Lake around 8:30AM and parked at the fisherman's parking right before the gate across the road. The "Road Closed" sign was up but the gate only blocked one lane. I could probably have driven all the way to Pelican Point but I decided not to.

I walked north east and climbed the hill up to the Pelican Overlook. This was the easy part. The lower elevation hills around the lake don't really have any snow left. I started down the trail and within 1/2 mile the snow was deep enough to put on my snow shoes, and I had lost the trail. Using my GPS I headed in the general direction of the trail and eventually picked it back up.

At these lower elevations the weather was pretty nice. It was ~30 degrees and partly cloudy. I saw a coyote running through the trees. It paused to look at me before continuing on its way.

At 10440ft, the meadow with small pond, I lost the trail again. I couldn't find the signs, cairns were covered in snow, and there were a few routes that looked like they were a "trail". I picked a route in the correct general direction that looked like it wouldn't be too strenuous on snowshoes. By this point, the wind had kicked up and the temperature was about 30 degrees but visibility was still pretty good.

Around 11080ft there is one final climb before things level off a bit. The trail shown on my GPS seemed to ascend at a very steep section. I was not comfortable due to the steepness and the lack of anchors in the snow. I found a route that was not quite as steep and had small groups of trees that I could use to minimize my exposure on the slope.

Once on top of the plateau, the wind really kicked up and visibility dropped to ~200ft. I couldn't see far enough to evaluate routes up to the hightop so I approached from the south where the ascent looked easy on the GPS. I found the high point with no problems and had a nice (cold) lunch.

After 20mins for lunch, my plan was to follow my tracks back the way I came. My plan wasn't very good... the wind had covered my tracks in places and I lost my route pretty quickly. Once I got back to ~11080 I picked my tracks back up and followed them most of the way back to Pelican Overlook.

This was a pretty long hike in snowshoes. The weather on the plateau was terrible (forecast was partly sunny). Not much scenery (due to weather). By the end I was definitely ready to go home. I would like to try this again in the summer when there isn't so much snow and the sky is clear.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Blustery. 150-200ft visibility.
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Andrew Sharp
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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