Kendall Ridge (almost)
Link with photos and videos: https://drive.google.com/open?
Mike and I had not been out since lockdown.
Objective was Kendall Ridge and beyond (and back), via Gold Creek trailhead to Kendall Peak Lakes. To the "Adventure Zone," as it were.
What a glorious and beautiful day! Met in Gold Creek Sno Park lot at 8:30 a.m. (probably too late, though perhaps we ultimately saved ourselves...see below).
We were pleasantly surprised to find snow coverage on the road up to Kendall Peak Lakes starting just a few hundred yards from the parking lot. Other than 5-6 short gaps where we needed to take our skis off (or gingerly skin on dirt/rocks/duff) we were able to keep skis on all the way.
Snow was hard on the road. We hoped it would soften up. Boy, did it ever.
This is an exceedingly mellow approach, at least until you get to the lower lake(s). Then it's a short, punchy climb to the upper lake (I took skis off and started booting halfway up).
Quick stop at the upper lake for a bite and a drink of water. Looking up at the ridge, things looked stable. Not a ton of pinwheels, no sizable wet sluffs from Thursday, which had also been quite warm.
Very hot! Sweating buckets. Summer feels.
Skinned across the lake to the north/left, up a short draw, then back right up through the trees to the shoulder below the Silver Twins (or at least I'm pretty sure those are the Silver Twins). Targeted the col immediately east/climber's right of the Silver Twins. This slope had been in the sun for a while and was sloppier and sloppier as we ascended. Skinned up to within a few hundred feet of the top and then started booting. By the time we were about 100ft. below the top, Mike punched through while kicking steps. We could hear -- and had heard -- water running all across the face. The possibility of a big glide avalanche suddenly seemed very real and that unmistakable feeling of mortality signaled us to go down.
Quickly skied back down to the shoulder. Mike still wanted to peek over the ridge, so we ascended to the NW so he could maybe take a look at the end of the Silver Twins rock ridge section. As we traversed, there was a small snow and rock slide from the snowpatch halfway up the Silver Twins, with pinwheels that came down near us.
Time to go!
Some fun skiing down through the trees to the lower lake and one nice little chute off of the road (video in link) but mostly the skiing was good just because...we were skiing.
We talked about whether we might have had a better outing if we had started v. early and been able to get up to the ridge when things were more solid. I don't think so. We might have made it over the ridge but we then would have had to come back over that sun-soaked aspect back into Kendall Peak Lakes when it was even softer (scary) and/or we would have had to thrash out the Gold Creek drainage (sucky, as anyone who's ever been up or down that valley knows).
Slopped and slid our way down the road, trying mightily to ski atop the very narrow ridge of consolidated snow left by the season-long skin/boot track, which was hard and fast relative to the melted-out slush on either side. As on the way up, only had to take skis off a few times.
Hot enough that we jumped in the creek at the parking lot. Sweet.
More of a fun outing on a beautiful day with a good friend than a "ski" trip...nevertheless, happy that 99% of it happened on skis.
About 5 hours car to car. Per usual, I was tired, Mike was not.