Hi all: Would anyone happen to have a photo looking back up at the area where you come over the ridge from Cecile down to Minaret that they'd like to share? My friend Scott and I tried to make the hike from Minaret to Cecile a couple weeks ago, but got stymied by a wall of granite. We clearly went too far west (according to your topo map) before starting our ascent, although there was the semblance of a trail and a few cairns kinda' pointing the way. I can get a fairly good idea of the area from Russ's shots of his descent (above), but I'm just trying to get some more specific info so when we do it next summer we'll know exactly how to get there. Thanks for any additional info. I've posted a picture here to show the general area we tried to hike up to get to Cecile. I'm assuming we needed to be way over to the right of this picture.
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You went right at the cliffs Mike, we went down that 2 years ago, it requires some rock climbing abilities. The section you need to ascend is further back down towards Minaret Lake, there is a spur trail to the north not to far from where the trail starts to ascend, it switchbacks up to the small pond east of Cecile. On this satellite image you can see the use trail branching off the main trail that is leading back to the cliffs you tried to climb.
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We came down from Cecile to Minaret after the tough scramble from Iceberg to Cecile. When people say it can take all day to do that cross country between those 3 lakes, you better believe it!! We also took the wrong "trail" when we got up to Cecile. We didnt' see any use trail and it was talus hopping near the shore of Cecile lake till the other side. Once we got there we found some use trails and we decided to follow it. As we were nearing the edge of what seemed like a cliff we saw a couple emerging from the abyss. They said it was steep but it was doable. Of course they were going up and not down!!
Needless to say we took our time going down. From the maps I've seen subsequently it looks like we totally missed the use trail and so did the couple we ran into.
My group (including my cousin and my daughter) hiked from Minaret Lake to Iceberg Lake (and beyond) in late Aug of this year. We missed the use trail where it branches north and didn't realize it until we arrived at the cliffs. My daughter and I rock climbed up to Cecile Lake, but my cousin is uncomfortable with heights. He ended up following the creek west up to the little tarn south of Cecile and then walking north to Cecile. He said that way was technically easy, so it must have been class 1 or easy class 2.
One more thing, when hiking down the steep slope from Cecile to Iceberg, the use trail descends from the outlet of Cecile, not earlier. When we were there two groups, one probably following the other, started their descent from the east or northeast side of Cecile and fought their way down the trailless class 3 (?) slope. Numerous rocks were dislodged above us and people were obviously in over their heads.