TR Skeleton Lake Overnighter 4/22/17

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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TR Skeleton Lake Overnighter 4/22/17

Post by cloudlesssky » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:03 pm

Four of us decided to snowshoe into Skeleton Lake above Lake Mary for an overnight camping trip. We had to push the original planned weekend due to weather so we ended up going this past weekend (4/22-23/2017). The temps were very nice, but the breeze and wind gusts kept us honest to a winter adventure.

We parked near Tamarack lodge where the plowed road ends. We hiked on the snow covered road and ski trails to the trail head with minimal post holing. There is a LOT of snow and we saw only a couple tracks (from skiers) from the trail head on.
Plenty of snow at the trail head

We broke trail on the way up to Skeleton Lake. There were some phenomenal views on all sides. You could see ski tracks on some of the chutes.
An incredible cornice - maybe 50 ft high

We eventually made it to Skeleton Lake and looked for a campsite that balanced wind shelter with the potential for early and late light.
Arriving at Skeleton Lake

When we got to the lake I saw two sets of tracks: a lone skier and a fresh set of bear tracks. Good thing I was sharing a tent with others. I volunteered to sleep in the middle.
Bear tracks

We proceeded to look around and make camp for the evening.
Our camp

I dug a kitchen area with a bench and area to cook. The winds was swirling around so the wind shield I made had little real effect, but it looked cool.
Camp kitchen.

Because it's late April we had light late into the evening which was a nice thing about this time of year. Going to bed early is one of the downsides of winter.
The last bit of twilight around 7:30pm

The night was not too cold but the wind was gusting the entire time. The morning dawned with patchy cloud cover rolling in. We did eventually get some sunshine but it was long after we crawled out of the sleeping bags.
Morning over Skeleton Lake

We eventually packed up and backtracked our trail. We ended up snow shoeing all the way to the cars instead of taking the snowshoes off. Going downhill is so much easier and the thought of even a small amount of post holing just didn't appeal to any of us.

This was another fun trip. It's nice to know that some old friends can still make their way into the mountains. Next year we'll bring more foam to sit on and some over-gloves to make sure the fingers stay warm while visiting before bedtime.
Happy campers on the way home
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Re: TR Skeleton Lake Overnighter 4/22/17

Post by gary c. » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:16 am

Looks beautiful, and cold.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray

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Re: TR Skeleton Lake Overnighter 4/22/17

Post by KevinDo » Sat May 13, 2017 4:13 am

Looked like a wonderful trip! and wow...that cornice!! Now that is scary looking!

Thanks for sharing!

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