January 15, 2011
Trailheads: Cotton Gulch Trailhead.
Total Mileage: ~16.2 Miles, Total Gain: ~6,700
No doubt it was going to be a long day so we decided to camp at the Cotton Creek trailhead. I met Al at the top of Trout Creek Pass where we then car-pooled to the trailhead. Al set up a tent while I camped out in my car. We were in bed by 9:00 PM and we woke up at 4:45 AM. After cooking breakfast and breaking down Al's tent, we were hiking up the Cotton Creek trail at 5:40 AM.
Hiking up the trail at ~10,500. Sunny side. (Photo by Al)
Since I had just been up the trail three days prior, camping, while attempting some other 13eeners (trip cut short due to a stove failure), the trail was well packed to within a few hundred yards of Electric's south ridge. We made excellent time up the trail and only needed to put on snowshoes for the final few hundred yard push to the south ridge on Electric. The wonders that an already broken trail makes. The last few hundred yards out of treeline was time consuming as the sugar snow was rather deep.
Al working his way into Horsethief Basin.
Me working my way into Horsethief Basin. (Photo by Al)
Al nearing treeline.
Me climbing out of treeline on Electric's south ridge. (Photo by Al)
After gaining Electric's south ridge, and out of the trees, it was an easy class 2 talus climb to the summit where we arrived at 11:20 AM. Luckily, there was hardly any wind but unfortunately, the sun was hiding behind a high stratus layer and things felt cool. Our break was short and we were on our way to Lakes Peak.
Electric Peak's south ridge.
Working my way up the south ridge. (Photo by Al)
Al on the south ridge.
Higher on the south ridge. (Photo by Al)
Gaining altitude on the south ridge.
Al on the upper section of the south ridge.
Final ridge to Electric.
Nearing the summit on Electric. (Photo by Al)
Al nearing the summit .
The descent off of Electric's northwest ridge was easy and we left our packs on a broad shoulder on the ridge. To avoid extra gain, we traversed on the west side of 13,220 and made the descent to the 13,220-Lakes saddle. The summit of Lakes looked distant.
Lakes Peak from the summit of Electric.
Once at the saddle, it was a workout to climb the class 2 south ridge of Lakes. At this point, we were both starting to feel the long day. We arrived on the summit of Lakes Peak at 1:15 PM and that traverse would have been a lot quicker in the summer.
Al descending the northwest ridge on Electric.
Looking back on the northwest ridge.
Traverse to Lakes.
Descent to the Electric-Lakes Saddle. (Photo by Al)
Al starting up the south ridge on Lakes.
South ridge up Lakes.
Al nearing the top on Lakes.
Al on the summit of Lakes. Electric Peak in the background.
Now for the rough part; ascending back up to our packs on the east south side of 13,220. It was a long haul back up and took us about 1 ˝ hours to get back to our packs. After a short break, we started down a shallow gully on the east side of Mount Niedhardt back towards Horsethief basin.
Working our way back toward Electric.
Traversing back from Lakes Peak.
Traveling was quick down the shallow gully until we reached treeline where we were both too lazy to put back on our snowshoes. We ended up post-holing back to our trail. Once back to our trail, it was a race to get back to the car before dark. We didn't quite make it back to the car before dark but we were pretty close. We arrived at the car at 6:00 PM. It was a long day and we were both feeling it.
Mt Owen on our descent
Chasing the sun back to the car.
GPX File from Al.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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