Need Info re: November Crescent Lake Trip
A buddy and I are considering a mid-November trip to Crescent Lake on the Kenai Peninsula. The plan would be:
Day 1 - Carter Lake Trailhead to Crescent Saddle Cabin (7 miles)
Day 2 - Crescent Saddle Cabin to Crescent Lake Cabin (4 miles)
Day 3 - Crescent Lake Cabin to Crescent Creek Trailhead (6.5 miles)
I have a few questions and would appreciate any insight folks could offer:
- Is the Crescent Creek trail open in November?
- I've read that there is "extreme avalanche danger" along the trail. Anybody know what the scoop is?
- Does anyone know what the likelihood will be that the trail will be packed? We aren't sure whether snowshoes, skis, or boots would be most appropriate.
Any other information folks might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated.
My husband and I did the opposite trip a couple years ago now, mid November, over two days. Your conditions will vary greatly year to year..... but ours was an adventure. Maybe more fun for me than my husband. We skied to Crescent Lake Cabin day one, beauty ski, thin snow but enough. Overnight and early departure across the lake to the opposite shore because we could see the Carter Lake end was ice free. We traveled uncomfortably and quickly, on what looked like 1 inch but likely more like 2. We then proceeded to quickly lose the Saddle trail due to extreme early avalanching. These were very broad clear cut deep valleys that looked like huge snowballs had come off the mountain and cleared everything in it's path to the water. Literally climb with paulk up one side of this "valley", down into the icy scarred remains, climb the other side. Eight times. We hit Carter Lake in the dark. Thankfully I knew how to access the trail and we skied down (challenging) that evening. Out at 8 pm. Complete fun.
I did it, and there are a few things worth mentioning. When the snow gets deep, they close the road a mile back from the trailhead, so there is an extra mile to walk/ski. Sometimes the rangers can tell you what the general trail conditions are, which could help you decide what to take as far as skis or snowshoes. I went on skis in lousy conditions, and everything took a LOT longer than expected.
There is at least one avalanche chute that runs over the trail, I have heard that at a certain point in time you can't really make it over it w/ out climbing gear. Don't know from experience.
I found it a difficult trip, but it could have simply been the conditions when I went, which was freezing/thawing, high winds, snowfall, a boot packed trail, patches of bare ground and solid ice... It has the potential to be a really nice trip. I would definitely take a good map, or a GPS w/ some good info loaded in case you end up being somewhere other than your destination when it gets dark...