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Alpental Valley

Still In Search of...Ice

December 28, 2001

Kim wanted to try out her new ice tools, so we headed back up to Alpental to see if the ice was in. I had read two reports of successful climbs of Chair Peak earlier this week so we were hopeful that the ice would be in.

A late start put us at the upper parking lot at 8:30am. On the way in we met two snowboarders on their way out. They said they came from Source Lake and turned around because the snow hadn't consolated and the weather was getting warmer. It was surprisingly warm.

We were weren't planning to go any further since we were at the ice fall that we planned to climb. It appeared that the ice on the left hand (gulley) side had formed although there were only icicles on the right hand overhanging side.

We could see what looked like a lot of accumulated snow on the cliffs and slopes above the ice we had planned to climb, so we decided to not take the chance of getting caught in an avalanche and headed back to the car.

Once again, we didn't want to be skunked on our ice tour, so we strapped on our crampons, picked up our ice tools and bouldered around the hard packed snow bank in the parking lot. The snow bank was made up of a three foot vertical step, then a 3 foot 45 degree slope, leading to a 4-5 foot step. Kim was able to swing her new tools and we were able to practice traversing efficiently.