|Peak:||Gray Wolf Mountain (13er)|
|Route:||NE Ridge via Chicago Lakes Trail|
|Date of Information:||12/17/2011|
Colin (astrobassman) and I attempted Gray Wolf's NE Ridge via Chicago Lakes Trail from the Echo Lake Campground. See Al's (piper14er) trip report for more info on the route: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=7609
This is a long (11+ miles) winter outing. From the start of the Chicago Lakes Trail, there are two different sets of established tracks. We took the left set. Go right! The left set of tracks stayed high and headed into cliffy terrain. We lost a lot of time having to backtrack and find a way down some steep terrain to rejoin the trail. Even when we had the trail, the going was not easy. This area definitely saw some damage from the windstorm awhile back. There are a lot of downed trees on and off the trail that require climbing over, under, sideways, etc. We managed to lose the trail again near the creek crossing due to tree downfall and the presence of several tracks nearby.
Once on the road, the going is good for awhile. Well-established tracks make the road walk easy. There is a large tree down across the road at one point, but an alternate track is in place around its right side.
We didn't get to enjoy the road for very long as we started heading up the eastern slopes to gain Gray Wolf's NE Ridge. There was a lot more snow on this slope than we expected and it was pure sugar (miserable) combined with more downed trees. We were able to stash the snowshoes once on the ridge proper, but still had a long way to go and not enough time. We turned back short of 12,700.
We had snowshoes most of the day, which led to some fun maneuvers on trees and boulders - we decided this new sport should be called "extreme snowshoeing".
I might recommend considering a different route as there are easier ways to get Gray Wolf, but with a trench in place, you might want to go for it while the groundwork's been laid.
Photos (click for slideshow):