March 15, 2020, Lichtenberg Mountain

WA Stevens Pass
Posted by ixchestr on 3/16/20 9:40am
We arrived at the trailhead at just after 9am - not as early as we'd hoped but still not a terribly late start. The tour started with a long, basically flat (very slightly uphill) section going up Smithbrook Road. We passed another party of 4 or 5 going up the road, who told us they were also doing Lichtenberg, and then eventually made our way to the turn off from Smithbrook. We took a wrong turn in the trees and the other party ended up passing us, after which we ended up following the same track as them at a distance. After 20 or so minutes of flat we started climbing up again (following the start of the NE ridge). We soon came upon the other party attempting to make their way up a particularly steep section of the ascent. Everyone seemed to struggle on this short section and I think it took probably 30 minutes just to get up the 100 ft of gain. I managed to skin the whole section but only a couple of us from both parties did that (the rest bootpacked) and it was definitely a challenging skin. Coming out of this section ski crampons were a definite add to my to-buy list. From the top of this section we reached Lichtenwasser Lake pretty quickly and stopped for a quick snack there.

(Eamon and Eric skiing across Lichtenwasser Lake)

(Our first view of the S summit from Lichtenwasser)

From the far side of the lake, we gained the ridge again (some pretty tough trail-breaking through the trees). Once on the ridge, it was an easy climb all the way up the ridge to near the summit. We paused and dug a pit on NE slope - there was definitely some wind-slab formation but it was not particularly quick to slide.

(Eric on the climb up the NE ridge)

After watching the other party climb the summit ridge we descended down the NE slope and it was actually very good snow most of the way down. Most of the way down we chanced upon a couple boarders atop a small cliff and as we passed them we saw there were a couple of photographers below them as well. After watching them drop the cliff, we continued our descent (now shallower) through the trees and into the basin towards Smithbrook. We came to the flat again in a large clearing full of snowmobile tracks and saw the snowmobiles that the boarders and photographers had come in on.

Once we reached Smithbrook it was just another long trek back out. Some poling was required to get up some slight uphills but at a certain point it became consistently downhill again and we were able to keep a little momentum to get back to the car quicker. It was a beautiful day and I strongly recommend this tour! The NE descent from the top is pretty nice, but the bowl down to the lake also looked really nice. I don't think it was the best day for the Southern aspects, but I would love to return and go off of the South summit. If you want to avoid the steep section at the start of the ridge that I mentioned earlier, I would either ascend sooner than we did and go directly up to the middle of the lake rather than up the ridge, or I would go farther than we did and approach the ridge from a more Northern angle, where the slope is a little more gradual.
Welcome to TAY! Nice TR, it was a beautiful day! You can borrow my ski crampons next time.
2020-03-16 16:59:00

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2020-03-16 16:40:49