The original goal was to hit Whitehorse Mountain, via Lone Tree Pass. Our day started not early enough, leaving the trailhead around 8am.
After missing a turnoff onto the trail, we backtracked to the correct trailhead, and began our ascent.
Nelson, Roman and Chris were the brave souls to carry their skis in search for snow to ski on. While I had done my own research, including
emailing the person who wrote a trip report 2 weeks before for the same trai, I decided that carrying the dead weight for about 500 feet of skiing, if any, was not worthy. Turned out, the person replied and suggested not to climb with ski, confirming my first instinct.
We also bumped into a couple, Chris & Amber, where they also missed the turnoff (so we weren't the only ones). We ended up climbing altogether as a group. The ascent on a not-so-well maintained trail with skis was ridicouly challenging. Climbing over and under down trees, frosty and slippery surfaces and Roman was going up with his ski boots.
Seeing them suffer was hard for me (I was the only one without skis). Finally the long boring trail met with the snow line at 4000'. It gave us some encouraging views of the valley, Mt Baker and Mt Shukshan. As we proceeded upwards, we could see the open face of the pass, covered by frozen snow. This north facing slope was still frozen, posing a bit more challenges for some of us who didnt put on crampons. Chris & Amber stopped mid-way up the mountain and decided to turn back before it became too dark. The rest of us pushed on up to the pass.
It is a breath-taking view on the Pass, but realizing it was too late to pursue to Whitehorse Mountain, give we had only 1.5 mile to go. The terrain beyond the pass was not encouraging neither, another 500 feet drop within the dense treeline, and then onto a snowfield. We made the right decision to turn back. It took us 3.5 hr to navigate through the forest to back to the parking.