2021-04-19: Echo Lake to Ralston Peak and Lake Aloha
This Sunday/Monday we toured from Echo Lakes to Lake of the Woods, just southeast of Lake Aloha in Desolation Wilderness. It was remarkably snowy right from the Echo Lake SnoPark and we were able to skin from about a 1/4 mile up the road all the way back to the Aloha area at the base of Pyramid Peak.
The North side (south facing terrain) or Echo Lakes was certainly burned out and would require running shoes, but on the south side of the lakes the snow was great for approaching in the afternoon. Firm and supportable, but soft enough to comfortably side-hill. The coverage seemed like it would be thick enough to last for the next couple weeks without having to significantly alter the approach along the south side of the Echo Lakes.
Snow quality was actually quite good and with the last few weeks of consolidation and hard freezes, it stayed good into the mid afternoon on north facing aspects. All of the snow we encountered was spring snow, with no signs of significant faceting even on the highest north facing slopes.
Overall, it was a great trip and a worthy exploratory mission. I highly recommend it if you're looking to explore Desolation Wilderness, don't mind some flat skinning on the approach and are happy to camp for a night or two. It would also make an incredible ski-mo lap if you have light gear and want to get some ski running in- the conditions are perfect for that right now!
Lower Echo Lakes is still frozen over, but it's starting to melt out fast. Lake crossing not recommended at this point!
Talking Mountain still has good coverage and some really fun lines! Coverage extends to the lake.
The north side of Ralston Peak. Great coverage and snow quality!
The northeast side of Ralston Peak in Desolation Wilderness.
Skinning toward the top of Ralston Peak.
Excellent corn skiing from the top of Ralston Peak.
Pyramid Peak from Lake of the Woods, just south of Aloha Lake in Desolation Wilderness.
The South Face of Dicks Peak from south of Aloha Lake.