Source Lake & Snow Lake - Snoqualmie Pass Miles: 6 Gain: 1500' GT Snoqualmie Pass # 207
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 January 23 , 2009

Knee problems have kept me out of the mountains for most of the winter.   When I have gone out I pick shorter and easier trips and try to be careful.  At just 6 miles rt and 1500' of gain the trip out to Source and Snow Lakes fit the bill.  I'd never hiked up this little valley before and was looking forward to approaching Snow Lake below the impressive east face of Chair Peak.

We met in the upper most parking lot at Alpental around 8:30 am and were on the trail around 9:00a. The trail starts at the north end of the lot and follows an old road bed for .5 miles or so before descending to the creek level and becoming trail.

Where the road descends to the creek, there were a couple paths in the snow, we opted for the lower, but the others that stayed higher on the slope all converged at Source Lake a mile to the north. We took a break at the lake and scoped the basin and moderately steep slopes we needed to cross and then climb to get to the saddle above Snow Lake. It was at this point that I noticed that my right snowshoe wasn't attached all that well to my foot.

Turns out that the pin on which the footbed pivots sheared off leaving one side unattached to the snowshoe. I've had MSR shoes break before and always carry some wire and heavy duty tie wraps just in case.  I needed both to make it through the day today.  The wire wore through pretty quickly, but one 1/4" diameter tie wrap held the whole thing together without problem.

The climb up from the lake to the saddle gives the trip it's aerobic benefit but make sure of the avy conditions before you try this part.  We had low risk conditions today, but there was some evidence of recent small slides below the east face of Chair Peak.

We hit the ridge above Snow Lake a 1/4 mile or so from where the summer trail does and were treated to nearly perfectly absent views of what I'm sure is a beautiful area.  Low gray clouds and snow coupled seamlessly with a flat white landscape around the lake.  The trees, being narrower at the top than the bottom, were the only reliable reference for the eyes as we scanned the view.  :) Needless to say I didn't get to see Chair Peaks' wintry east face.

Most of the group didn't seem to enthusiastic about heading over to the summer trail and dropping down to the lake, so we ate lunch and talked a while before calling it a (short) day and heading back.  The trail leading from Source Lake to the saddle was more crowded now with many more hikers, showshoers and skiers out and about. Most people seemed equipped for a short winter outing but there were a few in jeans and T shirts.   I wish them well.

An uneventful hike back to the cars (with the exception of Barbara slipping and hurting her left wrist in the fall.  Hopefully it's just a sprain and nothing more).  Nice break at the Travelers Rest for coffee before driving back.
Drive I-90 to the West Summit Exit (#53) and go north on Alpental Road.  Follow the road to the end where there is a large parking lot available.  The trail begins at the north end of the lot.
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