Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Returning to Lake Ediza: Lake Ediza to Thousand Islands Lake

Underway by around 8:30, we head up the same wooded slope that Andrea and I had climbed the day before on the way to Ritter. We continue past the beginning of the gully until the slope up to the Nydiver Lakes is visible to our right. In front of us there are a couple of people with a tent and someone else is crossing the talus towards Ritter's face. Curious, we watch this for a while, wondering what they are up to, until they start to scramble up the face and then begin climbing. Obviously a solo climber. Wonder how far they're going; we won't know, because we're moving on. We finish the last bit of climb to the first of the Nydiver Lakes and admire it for a bit. Here we finalize the decision that we're going to take the longer route around the crest to Garnet Lake instead of taking Roper's White Bark Pass (with its promised loose-talus descent). Onwards, around the first and second lakes, down a bit to a couple of tarns.
heading off in the morning in front of Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak
reflections in Nydiver Lake

A short break at the last of these and then we head cross-country steeply down into the next valley, past some old exploratory mining trenches (at least that's what we think they are), to about 3020m. Here we contour a bit around the valley wall before climbing the other side, steeply up through nice-smelling trees and scrub until we hit the broad ridge. Cross this ridge with some dried-up tarns and then lovely Garnet comes into view. We take a lunch break in a shaded spot with nice views over Garnet and then descend to the shore of the lake itself. Here we pump a bit of water (not-so-nice-tasting water) and then, since Garnet's shores are not walkable, climb back up a bit to the first shelf to get to the west end. Along the way we go by Roper's pass... sure enough, it looks loose and possibly unpleasant. Now we climb up a bit to the first crest, where the pass over to Thousand Island Lake becomes visible. Onwards, past a couple tarns, to get to the slope leading up to that pass. We traverse this on the diagonal, including some very enjoyable large-talus hopping, to reach the pass itself. From here there's a nice view down to the west end of the lake. We plan our campsite strategy to optimize morning sun and then set off along a clear use trail down to the shore. This leads us around the end of the lake (between it and a couple of tarns) and then onto a broad meadow of sorts (probably marshy when things are wet). We go past a group of camping fishermen, spot a bunch of Belding's ground squirrels (mis-identified at the time as prairie dogs), and finally get to an area where there are some trees and large rocks. Here we scout around a bit until we find a good campsite, set up camp, pump water, wash, and do all the usual things. As the sun vanishes behind the wall of mountains behind us, we get a new surprise: howling coyotes. What a wild sound. Hope they don't come visit.
Garnet Lake
campsite at Thousand Island Lake
 After dinner we stroll around the empty, and mostly empty, ponds and tarns that scatter the complicated landscape around us.

Dinner: broccoli cheddar soup with chipotle and cumin; mashed potatoes with curry and salami.


No comments: