CO – Rocky Mountain NP, Snowshoe to Alberta Falls, The Loch and Lake of Glass

About a month prior to this outing I’d stretched my skill set by carrying my pack on a backcountry ski adventure (link to related post). At that time I said I think I’d prefer snowshoes. Well . . . I was about to find out! Gary is living a semi-nomadic adventurous lifestyle similar to mine; we’d been connected through a mutual friend and finally had an opportunity to share trail. I’ve always loved being out in the snow but never aspired to snow camp, but when opportunity knocks, sometimes you just gotta open the door.

Our plan was to take Glacier Gorge Trail to Loch Vale Trail to Sky Pond Trail.

First viewpoint was Alberta Falls. It was a nice combination of ice and rushing water. 

The approach to The Loch was a steep one. 

If I wasn’t such a wuss, this would have been a fun glissade on the way back. 

The Loch

We found a place out of the wind to set up camp and Gary shared his wisdom from years of snow camping. 

The next morning we watched as the sun kissed a distant peak. 

We had planned this outing to enjoy the full moon. Mother Nature had different ideas. By late afternoon the wind had blown in clouds, but after a windy night we found the blue again. 

Our plan for the day was to leave base camp and hike up to Lake of Glass and on to Sky Pond. 

We could see part of the route from camp and were feeling the anxiety. With Gary’s mountaineering experience, he led the way. 

Time to get up through the chute. 

That’s so not going to be fun coming down. But that something to worry about later. Until then it was my turn to get up, so up I went. 

Celebrating completion of challenge #1. Photo credit: Gary

Looking down at The Loch. Our camp is in one of the white patches below the ridge.

The wind was fierce once we reached the ridge. I could barely stand up and it was biting cold. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect though. Upon arrival the sun made it’s way over the ridge and gave us optimal photography lighting. 

Lake of Glass aka Glass Lake with Gary the photographer doing his thing. You can find his work at High Wild Places Photography (www.highwildplaces.com).

Gary caught me playing amateur photographer. 

Sky Pond would need to wait for another day. Gary figured it was about 25 degrees with 40-50 mph wind gusting in our faces as we tried to capture images. 

It was so beautiful though . . . made it hard to leave. Photo credit: Gary 

Gary capturing final images with a background of gorgeous pinnacles. 

Getting back down took serious concentration. 

We had to carefully descend the bowl. There was some wind slab avalanche risk. 

This is what it looked like in the morning on my ascent. Photo credit: Gary 

Look closely at the first ridge to the left of the big rock. Those are our tracks!

Not a bad way to celebrate an epic adventure. Cheers to Gary for mentoring me! 

Hike Details:

  • Date(s): April 11-12, 2017
  • Mileage: 8.5 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: according to Trimble 3,500′; according to CalTopo 2,000′ (that’s a big difference)
  • Elevation Min/Max: 9,200’/10,800′

Tips:

Links:

Resources:

Photo credit: Gary

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