Distance: 15 km
Elevation gain: 750 mView mapDownload GPS track
I'm getting rather tired of writing this, but with the permanent touchy avalanche conditions and terrible mountain weekend weather, we again stuck to the front country. While we had ambitions on the drive out to snowshoe to Rummel Lake
, the low cloud, flurries, and general blah weather visible to the west and south as we started down Highway 40 prompted us to stop under a patch of sunshine at Barrier Lake and head up Yates Mountain, also known as the Prairie View trail.
We've done this hike before
, so see that report for more information. In contrast to that November day, today there was far more snow - over 2 feet of bottomless sugar off trail - but a well packed trail existed the entire way and the snowshoes strapped to our packs served merely as training weights. Microspikes were indispensable as the lower trail elevations are very icy.
Unfortunately the sun disappeared before we reached the summit, but at least we got almost two hours in the sun. As we'd done before, we also looped back to the car via Jewel Pass. While the tiny stream running down from the pass became a raging torrent last spring that did significant damage, the trail has been repaired or re-routed and is in perfectly good condition down to Barrier Lake. The road/trail along the western shore of the the lake is currently impassably muddy as a result of construction activity (no idea what they're doing), but with grassy fields flanking both sides it's easy to avoid the mess.
Overall a decent day, and it's only a couple months before bigger and better destinations become accessible!