Lutsen, MN 3/21/09 Snowshoeing the Onion River

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in midwestern US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Moderator: Tony Crocker

Lutsen, MN 3/21/09 Snowshoeing the Onion River

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:02 pm

The Onion River is perhaps the best known around Lutsen for canyoneering. From the trailhead it's about half a mile walk to the river. Though overcast it was in the 30's and everyone dumped clothing layers before we got to the river. We passed a winter campsite where Susan Staples ducked into the snow cave the campers built.
IMG_4409.JPG (150.58 KiB) Viewed 7763 times

Walking around the holes in the upper part of the Onion River. The river is usually shallow, so if you break through it tends to be knee deep or so. If it's too deep to step out they tell you to dip your arms in the water, then put them over the edge where they will now stick to the snow or ice. Then the guides will use ropes to get you out. On the NASJA officers' scout trips a couple of them did fall in waist deep sections.
IMG_4414.JPG (142.58 KiB) Viewed 7763 times

IMG_4417.JPG (131.12 KiB) Viewed 7763 times

We had to slide on a short ice section under this bridge
IMG_4424.JPG (160.26 KiB) Viewed 7763 times

In narrow areas or near holes we observed safety protocol by walking past potential weak spots one at a time. Sort of like skiing the Birthday Chutes.
IMG_4434.JPG (165.84 KiB) Viewed 7763 times

I took a long stride over a depressed spot here and broke this hole into the river. My momentum carried me across without even getting a foot wet, but Susan and Scott Staples had to hug the wall to get around the hole I opened.
IMG_4435.JPG (157.46 KiB) Viewed 7763 times

Entering a narrow part of the Onion River canyon
IMG_4436.JPG (149.24 KiB) Viewed 7760 times

Here we had to step on a rock in the river. Fortunately the snowshoe crampons grip the slick rock much better than bare feet or river shoes during summer river crossings.
IMG_4438.JPG (154.59 KiB) Viewed 7760 times

Amphitheater Cave has interesting spring-fed ice formations.
IMG_4440.JPG (142.98 KiB) Viewed 7760 times

Lower down the canyon opens up again
IMG_4443.JPG (132.22 KiB) Viewed 7760 times

Finally Lake Superior comes into view. There's a dropoff below the second pool which is a cascading waterfall in summer, so we exited here and hiked along the rim for a while.
IMG_4446.JPG (153.95 KiB) Viewed 7760 times

Back in the canyon, the Onion River is funneled under the road. Solid ice walking through the tunnel.
IMG_4448.JPG (138.93 KiB) Viewed 7760 times

End of the Onion River at Lake Superior shoreline
IMG_4450.JPG (95.21 KiB) Viewed 7761 times
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
Posts: 10817
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Return to Midwestern North America

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use