Little Diamond Head (June 11, 2017) - Elfin to Alice Lake - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Default Little Diamond Head (June 11, 2017) - Elfin to Alice Lake

Wanted to connect a nice loop today and it looked like I was going to have nice weather. It took me 3hrs to get from the Elfin Lakes trail head to the Elfin Hut - the snow line was what I've been seeing everywhere 1100m.





I was a little uneasy traveling alone all day after seeing a giant black bear first thing in the morning and getting growled at from a tree by something else (cougar perhaps).



After a bite to eat at the hut I made my way to the Columnar / Gargoyles col. The snow was isothermic and wet and cornices hung so high I pretty much had to summit the Gargoyles to find a suitable way down.





After that, the weather moved in and I was felt completely disorientated with no visual reference points for a while. I had to keep looking back but at some point it didn't matter. It was white literally everywhere with no sight line - it feels entirely unnatural and you're grasping for anything to give you a clue.



I kept moving up slowly and surely and then finally saw dark stone, a bit of melted ridge. I hugged that thing like a life line up and down, it was the only thing saving me from a white abyss. The last 200m to the Little Diamond head summit were snow free and it was a sandy, rocky, fall-apart texture. I couldn't see anything except that I was on a knife ridge with a drop offs on either side.






I didn't exactly want to linger and there was an unknown route ahead of me to figure out. So I hugged the line making sure not to go too close in case of the cornices and descended towards what I thought was Alice Ridge.



The snow was soft and moving was fine in the upper alpine although navigation was tough in the white out. I followed the natural terrain down and right until finally I could see Squamish far below. I was at least heading towards civilization!



Before me I could see a logging road, I just had to get to it. A bit more contouring, a couple creek ravines, some tree weaving back and forth and eventually I got to my road. It was NOT the paradise I had hoped for. Instead I was met by an alter grove of spring loaded trees which made bashing through exhausting and slow moving.







Finally things opened up to a road which I could tell at some point had been skied. I descended and sure enough at 1100m I was back on rock.







Bears seem to use this road, I saw lots of droppings. The road keeps going and going and going and going and going. After 30km, I was ready for it to be over and so were my very wet feet. In the lower aspects I was happy to start seeing some of the mountain biking trails and signs of other people Job done! For the record I think Alice ridge is more work than the Elfin Lakes route.

Distance: 35km
Elevation Gain: 1605m / 5,265ft
Elevation Loss: 2100m

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 08:32 PM
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Thanks for this report. I've always wondered if Alice Ridge would make a good bike 'n hike, sounds like not unless there is another trail on the ridge.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 08:48 PM
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How interesting. I've been to Gargoyles etc but never crossed my mind to try this loop.
Alder pics are surreal
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 11:41 PM
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35 km and thousands of feet in elev gain/loss in one day, with none too much in the way of good weather. Ouch! Have you been munching on those rum+raisin chocolate bars, the ones with WAY too much rum ... That aside, what a great TR. Do you carry a Locator Beacon or similar device?

That's a serious snow pack that could flatten tough, springy alders like that.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 12:16 AM
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Great trip Masiar; and very much enjoyed your TR writing and pictures. That is one serious loop. I have been to Little Diamond Head via Elfin Lakes and returned the same way. Really appreciate the effort you put in with shortage in the 'views' department.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 01:31 AM
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whats that app???
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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@xj6response Oh you know me so well Rum and Raisin Ritter Chocolate...hmmmmmm! Really I feel I got tricked, I mean did you see the nice morning picture?! I could even see Garibaldi, all was looking swell. Then in a sinister manner it lulled me closer and closer...I got as high as the Gargoyles pass before the clouds moved in. Alas days like that I lie to myself and call "training days".

As for the beacon, yes absolutely! After returning at like 2am once from Marriott and freaking out my family I never go out without my InReach now Especially if traveling solo.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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The app is called Gaia and I highly recommend it. It runs on your phone and you don't need cell signal. It has many many trails on there because it's an open source map and it's excellent. I now run all GPS routes in parallel...Garmin 60CX + Gaia + paper map
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 07:02 PM
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The first picture in your report is very classy, it really catches the mood of a June hike.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 01:16 PM
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Very interesting trip! I have planned a similar trip for the summer season. There used to be a trail along Alice Ridge to the Little Diamondhead. In those days I could take my motorcycle up the logging roads to the trailhead.I once hiked to the Little Diamond Head and then followed a creekbed down to the trail to Opal Cone. As I remember it, the trail stayed on the Cheekeye River side of Alice Ridge and went through a forested area with pretty big evergreen trees. That portion has probably been logged off. I have attached a track partly recorded and partly fabricated at gpsies.com. If you open with Google Earth you can see a faint line that could be the trail.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 01:15 PM
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This has renewed my interest in the Elfin Lakes area. I've snowshoed Elfin Lakes once about two year ago, making it to the shelter. I didn't see much because of the weather conditions. I was surprised to see Park Rangers monitoring the trail. I was in above average fitness at the time, and I still found it a bit long and boring of a snowshoe experience. I did plan on returning and conquering Opal Cone as an overnighter, before my overnight gear was stolen. Seeing this makes it seem possible to head out to Opal Cone and back to the beginning of the Elfin Lakes trail in one day during the summer. Anyone try this out yet?


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