March 19, Snow Peak Shelter - Almost

This picture on a tree was as close as we got to seeing the shelter.

Well, the idea started off good. Unfortunately the idea was better than reality. The idea was for 4 or 5 people to skin 3 hours into Snow Peak shelter at Sherman Pass in the Kettle Crest Range. Well as the date approached it looked like only Francine and I were willing to brave the forecast of rain and warm temperatures at Sherman Pass. We decided to cut the hut time back to two nights and spent the first night in Republic. We lied to the innkeeper at The Prospector Inn and told him we had a AAA card. We saved a whopping 2.75 for a room rate of 52.25. That's pretty cheap for a clean room. Upon asking for dining advice, we found out we could eat at Madonna's or the Sportman bar and grill. Good thing smoking is banned in taverns, or I don't think I would have convinced Francine to eat in a tavern. Little did we know this was probably the highlight of the trip. The burgers were excellent and they even had Mac-N-Jacks on tap. Better yet, the lively crowd of about 18 locals started buying rounds for the whole bar. After one free round, we had to decline the second round, since that would exceed our two beer limit.

Well, we got up Monday morning, drove to Sherman Pass and hefted our heavy packs and headed towards the shelter.

Upon starting up we noticed that the snow had not frozen up the night before, and was very unconsolidated. Also, there was not much snow on the ground. If the pass had been any lower then 5,575', I don't think we would have had any snow. We came to a Y in the trail and could go either way to go around Sherman Peak. Unfortunately we went the wrong way and ended up on a Southerly exposure where we were sinking through the snow. We decided to turn around and go the other way around Sherman Peak. This probably wasted an hour and then when we did get around the peak we discovered the snowpack had melted out to the point where we would have to climb around bushes and over rocks. We decided after 3 hours of skinning to turn around and head home.
Oh well, sounded like a good trip. The free beers were good.

First turn around, notice Francine's left pole has sunk all the way into the snowpack.

Final turnaround. Time to head home

1 comment:

frank Neumann said...

Well, reading your report I'm glad I bailed. All I needed was another bad road trip this skiing season; first the Whistler trip, where a friend dropped dead, then the 'Whitewater' trip where I broke a ski, a binding, bruised some ribs and had my car towed for good measure.
On the other hand, I feel bad about not having shared in your misery and not helped carry the supplies.
Better luck next year !
p.s.: really like the looks of your blog