“A gradual approach to the lakes themselves with a more strenuous ridgeline ascent to a number of ski line options.”
— Zander Göpfert
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
From the intersection with the Forest Lakes Approach
for Arapaho Lakes
, this approach continues gradually uphill to the southwest along the Rogers Pass Trail. We actually missed the right-hand turn for the Crater Lakes Trail itself (shown as a connector), but the trees are spaced with more than enough room to pick your own skin track. After a couple hundred yards, this track meets back up with the trail and continues north/northwest weaving between a few rocky outcrops as the grade begins to level off.
As the ascent flattens out, the tree cover thins and views of the cirque surrounding the Crater Lakes come into view. This approach continues up the toe of the ridge to the south/southwest of the lakes which features a number of couloir lines. Due to their steep grades, make sure to take photos from below to ensure you choose the right line as there are cliff sections that could be, at the very least, difficult to negotiate out of.
Generally speaking, the grade of each couloir increases the further up the ridge you go.
At 2.3 miles in, there is a terrific area just below the conical peak of the ridge that provides a great vantage point to take a lunch break or snap a few photos. There are some remnants of old electric poles with pieces of ceramic that may have been used as insulators.
Continue for the final push, circumnavigating the conical peak of the ridge. After an extremely warm stretch of weeks in early spring, our objective at the end of this approach was dry, but the potential is there as this is a northern aspect with some protection from the wind and the opportunity to connect a number of lines back down to the intersection with Forest Lakes Approach