2018/9/19 – Theseus + Minotaur / 忒修斯+牛頭怪

Minotaur from Theseus
Minotaur from Theseus

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Access: Minotaur Lake Trailhead
Round Trip: 5 miles
Elevation Range: 3,800′-6,262′
Gear: helmet packed but not used

Seven years had passed since we first set foot in the beautiful lake basin en route to Labyrinth Mountain. The anticipation lead up to seeing both Theseus and Minotaur Lakes from the top was one of the memorable highlights from that trip. This time we tackled the two protagonists in this fascinating myth of the Greek mythology.

The 7.7-mile bumpy drive to the trailhead on Smithbrook-Rainy Creek Road (NF-6700) took half hour from the Highway 2 turnoff, with the switchback on Smithbrook Road leading up to the pass being the rockiest. We started hiking at half past one on the steep trail and met four parties on their way down and we briefly chatted.

West ridge view
West ridge view

Photos from this trip can be found here.

At 5,300′ we left the trail and aimed north-northeast toward Theseus west ridge. From the ridge at 5,800′ we then scrambled the last 200′ to the top. Summit sported a 180-degree, unobstructed view from northwest to southeast; trees obstructed the other half. Though we were looking at the better half with the sun shining from the south behind us.

From the top I got a direct view into the two lake basins either by poking around a group of tree above the cliffs or by walking down the west ridge a short distance. A great vantage point to view the two lakes, with Minotaur stacked above Theseus and Labyrinth Mountain sitting straight behind.

Lake basins panoramic view from Theseus
Lake basins panoramic view from Theseus

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Dark clouds obscured most big mountains to the distant north. Nearby visible high points included Mount Howard, Mount Mastiff, and Rock Mountain on the Nason Ridge, Dirtyface Lookout and Dirtyface Peak on Dirtyface Mountain, and Poe Mountain on Poet Ridge. Big Chiwaukum, Mount Stuart, and Lichtenberg Mountain were also visible under the glaring sun. Lake Wenatchee was in full display.

An hour later, on the descent to Minotaur Lake outlet, we stayed south of the ridge crest to avoid dense shrubs and a few minor outcrops. From southern lake shore, we hiked through meadows and reached southeast talus basin of Minotaur at 5,800′. The faint trail on climbers right of the talus through scree mixed with heather put us on the ridge at 6,100′, followed by another 150′ of ridge walk to reach the summit.

Lake basins panoramic view from Minotaur
Lake basins panoramic view from Minotaur

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Another great vantage point with views abound! Visible high points in the vicinity included Jim Hill Mountain, Jove Peak, plus more of the other peaks seen from Theseus earlier. From this angle I was able to see Sloan Peak and Bedal Peak; Glacier Peak had gone into hiding. Wind gradually picked up in late afternoon as we enjoyed another hour of leisurely stay.

Lake basin looked to be empty as we made our way down to the trail. We got back to the trailhead five hours after the trip began, 40 minutes before sunset, to our lone car in the parking lot.

Thanks for an amazing afternoon
Thanks for an amazing afternoon

Photos from this trip can be found here.

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