TR: Lassen Peak (2/17-18)

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pakoR
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TR: Lassen Peak (2/17-18)

Post by pakoR » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:26 pm

This is my 3rd winter trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park, and my 3rd time not reaching the summit of Lassen Peak. In 2016, I turned back about 900' from the summit because of strong winds sweeping the mountain. I was getting blown every which way and getting pummeled by snow crystals and ice carried by the wind. In 2017, the weather was perfect, but my climbing partner started getting a headache which didn't subside, and we turned back at about 9000' feet. This year, Sunday morning presented us with strong winds and low clouds reducing visibility. To augment the experience, the temperature was 10°F at 0400.

On Saturday, we left the visitor center at about 0930, hiking up the road, which for the first 2 miles had sporadic patches of frozen snow. Beyond mile 2, the snow was more consistent. Around the visitor center, there was 1-2' of snow. For comparison, below is a photo from last March.

The day started off warm, with a clear sky, and temperatures in the 50s. The south ridge of Diamond Peak was free of snow, so we couldn't take the shortcut over the ridge. After mile 2, we put on our skis and snowshoes and continued on the road. We reached Lake Helen at about 1500, set up camp on the west side of the lake and had dinner. By 1700, the wind was picking up, and the clouds were rolling in. As the sun was setting, its rays poked through a break in the clouds and created a beautiful band of red on the hills across the lake.

We planned to leave camp at 0400 on Sunday to head for the summit of Lassen Peak. However, the strong wind continued through the night, and the temperature dipped well below 20°F. At 0400 on Sunday, we decided to remain warm in our tents and to continue sleeping. By 0800, the wind had diminshed, but the fog and clouds limited visibility, and the temperature was hovering in the mid-20s. The peak was not visible from Lake Helen. We ate breakfast, packed our gear, and headed back to the cars.

Enjoy the photos. See you next year Lassen Peak!

Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center in March of 2017
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Lassen Peak in the distance
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The road beyond mile 2
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Sporadic rock fall along the road
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Same section of road in March of 2017
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Clouds over Lassen Peak
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Lassen Peak in March of 2017
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Lake Helen
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Sleeping accomodations
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Sunset at Lake Helen
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Mt. Diller, barely visible through the fog
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rhyang
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Re: TR: Lassen Peak (2/17-18)

Post by rhyang » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:55 am

Great pics, and a lot more snow this year than I was expecting. Lassen can be tricky in the winter. I've gone up the S slopes, the SW ridge, and the north side in the winter and early spring.

March 2014 on the north side
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Feb 2013 via south slopes
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The old radio repeater, which has since been removed
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Shasta, viewed from near the crater
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Feb 2010, south side couloir
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11' of snow at the SW visitor center
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Willythedog
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Re: TR: Lassen Peak (2/17-18)

Post by Willythedog » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:30 pm

Planning on heading up to Lassen end of this month. For the approach would you fellas suggest backcountry skis or snowshoes? I do not have skins.

Also I’d imagine there would be enough snow now to take the diamond peak shortcut?

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rhyang
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Re: TR: Lassen Peak (2/17-18)

Post by rhyang » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:54 pm

They update the conditions page pretty regularly -

https://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

Sounds like they've started plowing the road from both ends. You may be hoofing it on the road a ways.

Starting to fantasize about packrafting some of the lakes on the east side this summer :)

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Willythedog
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Re: TR: Lassen Peak (2/17-18)

Post by Willythedog » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:36 pm

Yeah from the looks of it they plowed to the shortcut. Ranger said it snowed again so not sure on how the road is. Worst case I guess I’ll have to walk on asphalt for a couple miles.

Will report back.

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