Lolo Peak summit climb, planned for 18 June (canceled due to weather), actual 22 June.
Participant: Mark Albrecht
Anne Dellwo signed up to join me on the planned date of 18 June. The morning of, it was pouring down rain, so we decided to cancel. I did the climb as a solo trip the following week.
Weather conditions were good, with clear skies and moderate temperatures. I started fairly early, beginning hiking at 6:30 a.m., to maximize the likelihood of hiking on firm snow (and to make it back in time for an afternoon dentist appointment). The hike to Carlton Lake was mostly fast and easy, with only a few patches of snow, beginning about 7700 feet. Above Carlton Lake, the snow was fairly persistent. Since the summer trail was covered, I made my way to the ridge as efficiently as I could. Snow was consolidated enough to avoid post holing.
I made it to the north summit just after 10:00 a.m. The traverse from north summit to south summit was dry and free of snow, so after a brief snack break and removing my crampons on the north summit, I was on the south summit at 10:30.
For the return trip, I decided to skip most of the ridge walk and made my way back to Carlton Lake by switchbacking down the snow-covered bowl below the north summit. This proved to be a good choice, as there was no threat of cornice fall above me, avalanche risk was minimal, it avoided my least favorite sections of the ascent, and it shaved about a mile of total distance from the return trip. The rest of the hike out was fairly uneventful, and I was back at the trailhead just after 1:30. I did not encounter anyone else the entire day.
Total time: 7:10
Vertical gain/loss: 4,222
Comments: In an effort to be light and fast, I brought a whippet and left my ice axe and trekking poles at home. I would have preferred an actual ice axe while traversing the ridge. Other than that, no issues with weather, clothing, or equipment. That said, I think ideal timing for this peak is earlier in the season shortly after the gate opens when it can be done mostly on skis or else later in the season when the summer trail is clear of snow.