Sunday, December 11, 2016

Becker Peak Snowshoeing

Becker Peak Snowshoeing
El Dorado National Forest
Elevation 8,360


We are discovering through our adventures, that we are truly warm weather people. Having short days, cold weather, cloudy skies and rain is not appealing to either of us. I discovered a few years ago that snowshoeing is a good way to still enjoy the mountains and get in a good hike. So after not seeing the sun all week, we decided to snowshoe a peak!

We didn't get out as early as we'd hoped today.  
We were at a 40th birthday Mardi Gras party last night. Needless to say, we were moving a little slower this morning......fortunately the trailhead is easy to access and the total on-trail distance is reasonable.

This week has been full of freezing cold temps followed by several days of heavy rains. Today however, is full of sunshine!! With the rain, freeze/thaw cycles this week, the snow is less than ideal. Quite icy and hard in areas. 

We timed the sunny skies just right and we are both ready for an outdoor adventure, so we will take whatever we can get as long as sun is involved! 
Echo Lake Sno-Park off of Highway 50 is where the adventure for Becker Peak begins. 
Permits are required and can be acquired at numerous places BEFORE you get to the Sno-Park. You cannot obtain a permit once you get here. 

Coordinates to the Sno-Park

Right out of the sno-park is Echo Lakes Road which leads to Echo Lake. The road is not passable in the winter and the snowplows had blocked the entrance with a snow burm.......so on foot we go.

Let the adventure begin!

New snowshoes baby!! 
We thought we were going to run into a snow situation when we hiked Thunder Mountain back in June, so I bought Chris a pair of MSR Trail Ascent Snowshoes. We ended up not using them for that trip, but today he finally gets to try them out!!........(Actually I think she bought them for me so I wouldn't  hibernate and hide out all winter waiting for summer to return......Chris)

Luckily $h!t won't be blowing up in the direction we're headed........just past this sign we made our left turn off of the road and headed backcountry and uphill.

These snowshoes are so light that I can fly over the tundra.......... one foot at a time though.


The blue skies were a much welcome site.

Even though the temperature was in the 30s, the sun on our faces made us both smile.

Freshies

Blazing a trail and making fresh tracks. The top layer was a bit icy but the MSR Trail Ascent had firm grip and we were making good time.




Oooooohhhh god I wish I was that icicle 


Normally our hikes involve some bushwhacking. I imagine these moguls are hiding some serious scrub and shrub that now we get to float right over.



Nearing the peak while working up a ridge line and the views of Echo lake came into view with Tahoe in the background


Snow bunny ninja = Sninja!


And up we go............

Rock fields are much easier to navigate with a few feet of snow on top of them


We skirted around the peak to approach it from the West since the East side is pretty much a sheer drop to the lake below. 

The peak has a 40 foot closed contour, so we weren't going to be able to make it all the way to the top, top. The ice is also going to play a part today in bagging a peak. Without crampons it's far too dangerous, so we made it to within 80 feet and called it good. 
Mother Nature always wins...

Peak Coordinates of the top, top.


Not a bad view for lunch!
We turned around at the  peak and headed towards this lovely view of Echo Lake for a quick bite to eat. We needed to get off the ridge to get out of the wind and this was a perfect spot. Turkey sandwich with roasted red pepper pesto and grape tomatoes, dried mango and apricots are on the menu today. 

On our descent with a great view of Tallac in the background. What a gorgeous day!


Our tracks via Strava on iPhone 6. It was about a 1000' elevation gain and 4.5 miles. A quick and moderately easy trek. Great for a short day in the snow! 

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