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Alpental Valley

In Search of...Ice

December 21, 2001

Today the Dawn Patrol was in full force with Michael, Alex, Kim and yours truly. Kim completed her last final earlier this week so she finally had some free time to get out in the mountains. Today we planned to head into the Alpental Valley via the Snow Lake trail to check on the ice conditions. We haven't had a real cold spell this season, so the local ice hasn't formed yet. But we wanted to know for ourselves just how slowly the ice was forming.

Alex led us to Alpental ice I,II,III, and IV. I had heard that these were very close to the Alpental parking lot and they were. We were standing at their base barely 15 minutes after leaving the parking lot. Unfortunately water was pouring down their faces with only a few icicles formed. So we continued on down the trail to look for more ice....

The other waterfalls were in the same condition, so we continued on with the plan to make a loop back down the other side of the valley to check on those waterfalls. But Kim's ankle started to hurt from an earlier injury so we called ahead to Alex and Michael that we were turning back. They were going to continue on for awhile and then meet us back at the car.

Kim and I took our time on the way back, not wanting to arrive at the car too early. Our pace was perfect because just as we descended the open snow slope to the parking lot, we saw Alex and Michael below us walking along the road. Not to be skunked on our ice tour, we strapped on our crampons, picked up our ice tools and bouldered around the hard packed snow bank in the parking lot!