Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ibantik Lake, Uinta Mountains- 7.8/9/10.2016

The last time I backpacked into Ibantik Lake, it was a solo trip for my birthday back in 2012. I decided it was time to return to this lake and get the photography I wanted the last time I was up there. I made my way in on Friday afternoon to a really busy trail head. I got the last place to park when I arrived. I put on the boots and pack, then made my way up to Wall Lake. I pushed on through up to Hope Lake, then made my way up to the pass. I took a quick break to shoot some photos, then descended the north side of the Notch. A considerable amount of trail work has been completed in this section compared to the last time I visited this area. All the big boulders you had to step over are gone, and the switchbacks are well graded. As I made my way towards my destination, the winds were howling. I did not mind, keeps the skeeters at bay. After dropping the last set of switchbacks, I found myself standing at Ibanitk Lake.

I was surprised at how many campers were up here. Almost all the spots were taken, but as luck would have it, the spot I was looking to get had no campers in it. I made my way around the lake and claimed my spot. I got camp set and proceeded to settle in for evening, waiting for my two friends who were coming in late via head lamps. Dinner and a fire were in order and I made myself comfortable as it had already been a long day. Dusk set in, then night was upon us, and my friends arrived at camp. They got set up for the weekend and we relaxed under the stars with a nice fire. We eventually turned in, but not before I got a nice shot of camp with a meteor caught in the last seconds of the frame with the Milly Way gleaming overhead.

Dawn came and we got up to more howling winds. This put a damper on fly fishing as it was just impossible to try to cast with 4o+ mph winds. We sat in the meadow below camp, which had some wind shelter, and took it all in. I think everyone was in lounging mode in the AM because of the long day all of us had. After quite a bit of R&R at camp, we decided to hike up to the cirque below Notch Peak. It was an awesome adventure up there. The wildflowers in this little basin were exploding. We climbed the moraine below the peak, with boulders the size of cars up in there. After a while, I made my way back down to camp and took a cat nap in my tent. Evening set in and the wind was still pounding us, so we decided to get dinner going in hopes of some evening fishing. But alas, the wind never let up until dark. I was having some issues on the first night shoots a star trail, but figured out the problem on my new timer and set one up and sat out at the lake under the big dipper as it rattled off the shots. I got a wild hair and hiked almost a mile out and back to the dam to get some full shots of the Milky Way. On the way back in the dark via my headlamp, I almost stepped on a porcupine! Yikes!

Sunday morning arrived as windy as the last. We awoke to clear skies, but very windy conditions. We made breakfast, then broke it down as the wind the last three days had taken its toll. The hike out was great and I did the pass in about 45 minutes which is really fast thanks to my ultralight set up I am packing in these days. On the pass, we all had celebratory beers as we took in 50+ MPH gusts which were intense to say the least. We took in the view, then decided to knock out the rest of the trail. We passed the lakes on the way out and eventually found ourselves at the car sitting in our camp chairs. It was a great trip out with good friends. Enjoy the pics and time lapse! More adventures to come!

Ibanitk Lake Time Lapse from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

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