Ascent of Hidden Lake Lookout on 2014-07-03

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, July 3, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hidden Lake Lookout
    Elevation:6890 ft / 2100 m

Ascent Trip Report

After arriving at the trailhead at midnight, I was unable to sleep for a couple of hours due to an intrusive rodent (it looked like a vole) decided to take refuge under my car (sometimes atop my muffler, sometimes in engine compartment). My incessant horn-honking, lights, shouting, etc. would only temporarily scare him off. Annoyed and extremely tired, I eventually drove down the road for 0.5 miles until reaching a road-switchback with enough side-space to park my car. I then slept off-and-on for the next two hours; no rodent intrusions appeared at the new parking location but by then my sleep pattern was completely shot off-kilter.

I got a very early start, intending to reach the creek crossing by good daylight. The trail was easy to follow to the East Fork Sibley Creek crossing and during the switchbacks beyond it. Snow started at 5000' elevation, at the upper crossing of East Fork Sibley Creek. Then began a long, two-mile side-traverse southwest towards the saddle near the lookout hill. During this stretch of the route, I encountered a temporary white-out which briefly caused me to go too high too soon and into steeper terrain which I wanted to avoid. After carefully climbing downslope a little bit, I continued side-traversing at a more constant elevation until rounding the corners near the saddle.

Once at the saddle, I noticed that the standard route to the lookout was unavailable due to steep snow, ice, rocks, and moats. A recent boot track steeply side-traversed the snowy northeast slope until reaching the east ridge, so I chose that option. I did not care to go back that way, as deep moats were opening and some snow was breaking off near the east ridge. I had also noticed another set of tracks heading downhill, which I initially thought went to Hidden Lake but in reality was just a longer route to a lower portion of the east ridge. This option was much better and safer, and was the way I later headed back to the saddle from the lookout.

A man (Robert from Omak) had spent the night in the lookout for some general upkeep of the building. We had a pleasant conversation. I was hoping for great views but unfortunately low morning clouds obstructed all outward views on this day. Still, it was a fun lookout to visit with a great partially-snowy route.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3590 ft / 1093 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3590 ft / 1093 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, White-out
Low Clouds, Temporary White-Out
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3390 ft / 1033 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3290 ft / 1003 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Start Trailhead:3600 ft / 1097 m
    Time:0 Days 3 Hours 10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3490 ft / 1063 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3290 ft / 1003 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Gain on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    End Trailhead:3600 ft / 1097 m
    Time:0 Days 2 Hours 0 Minutes

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