Hidden Lake Peak Ski Tour


While I was gone in the Sierra for two weeks, Washington experienced warm temperatures that seemingly obliterated the snowpack. By Memorial Day Weekend, it was nearing the end of ski season. My friends Danny and Matt were in town, staying with Anthony and Liz. We all got together for some fun chill spring skiing.

Hidden Lake Peak is an easy late season ski because of its high trailhead and northern aspect. We had to park a few minutes back from the end of the road due to a fallen tree across the road. Less than an hour of hiking brought us to continuous snow at 4500 ft, where we started skinning. It was summer snow: already soft and sun-cupped.

Signs of the end of ski season…
Distant view of the Pickets.
Fallen Angel!

We got a little too excited going uphill and realized we should have traversed right lower for the typical ascent route. But looking at a map, I figured that we might actually be able to just continue up, cross the north ridge and continue up the east face to the summit of Hidden Lake Peak. It worked out quite well.

Matt skinning up towards the peak.
Eldorado poking out.

Liz scrambled the ridge on foot while the rest of us skinned up the face on skis. We arrived at the summit block at exactly the same time.

Formidable poking out of the clouds.
Clouds obscured Forbidden and the other giants.

Clouds passed by us as we lounged on the summit. I was hoping to show Danny and Matt the impressive North Cascade peaks around us, but most remained hidden in the clouds. Hidden Lake, however, was now plainly visible.

Hidden Lake revealed.
Anthony and Liz together on the summit.

The east face skied poorly, since it had been baking in the sun for many hours already. But the traverse was easy enough back to the north slopes above the trail.

Matt demonstrates “peak performance” with his gorilla stance.
Danny skiing the east face.

Once back on north aspects, the snow was actually pretty enjoyable, although the sun cups prevented any serious ripping. One cannot have too high expectations at this point in the season, especially if you are not high up on a volcano. At least it beats walking down.

A mosaic of blue, green, and white.

We skied down to 4400 ft, where we put skis on our backs and had an easy hike out.

With an early finish to the day, we decided to take a crack at the fallen log. We only had Liz’s 12 inch electric chainsaw and the log probably measured 20 inches in diameter, but we got it done. It took over half an hour and a fair bit of grunting, but that little electric chainsaw impressed us!

You can now drive the trailhead!

This was a fun, relaxing spring ski day with friends. Hidden Lake Peak may not have the allure of Eldorado or Sahale, but it is a relatively easy ski summit with moderate skiing on many aspects, good access, and great views!

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