Three Fingers was the first trip I had the pleasure of doing with Ed. He had attempted it a couple times before, only to be turned around due to bad luck. I remember how thrilled he was when we reached the top. He really loved this peak. With the EMTSRM in my possession, I couldn't think of a more fitting next stop. I contacted Adam (gimpulator) who had retrieved the memorial register from Yellow Aster Butte and graciously loaned it to Jen to bring to the Teeth of Larch campout where it fell into my possession. As it turned out, Three Fingers was near the top of Adam's list. Better yet, he also thought it would be fun to stay overnight in the lookout and take in the sunset and sunrise.
The plan was to meet at the trailhead at around 7 AM where Adam said to wake up a guy bivying next to a motorcycle. Not wanting to get up early for a long drive I decided at the last minute to car camp it as well at the trailhead, arriving a little after midnight to find some poor soul stick his head out of a bivy looking pretty cold and wet from condensation. It was Adam, and I didn't have to ask twice if he wanted the empty spot in the back of my 4 Runner.
It was still pretty dark at 6:40 AM when the wake up alarm went off so we decided to get a few more z's before hitting the trail. The trail was in better shape than I remember but still pretty rocky and rooty to Saddle Lake and beyond to Goat Flats. We passed a few small frozen tarns along the way signaling winter's impending arrival. Good conversation made the trek go pretty fast and before we knew it we were at Tin Can gap, and shortly thereafter, the gully with the rope which is normally snow filled and requires use of the hand rope but this late in the year was all melted out. By the time we reached the snowfield below the summit the snow had softened it up enough that I was able to do the entire trip in tennis shoes and trekking poles.
My biggest concern was whether the ladders would be icy but the sun had done its job and by 2 PM we were basking in the views from the lookout where two volunteers from the Everett Mountaineers were staying and doing some final prep before pulling the shutters and removing the rope above the ladders for winter. I thought I had recovered from a nasty cold earlier in the week but after the climb I could tell it was coming back with a vengeance. I decided to nap while Adam borrowed my camera to take some pictures since his camera was acting up. A couple hours later we were joined by 3 others who would also be staying in the lookout that night.
If you ever have a chance to stay in the lookout I'd highly recommend it for the complete experience. We were treated to clear views of the Seattle skyline, Lake Washington, Lake Stevens, Everett, Puget Sound, the Olympics and the sea of peaks from the North Cascades to Rainier, a beautiful alpenglow sunset, city lights at night as far as the eye could see, topped off by a pink sunrise. Normally I would have taken a lot more pictures, but the bug I was fighting sapped my will and energy and I figured I could always fall back on the pictures I took last time. Nevertheless, I was glad to be up there with great company. As sick as I felt, it was hard to complain...
Shortly after arrival I took a small pinch of Ed's ashes from the register as did Adam and released him into the cool breeze from each side of the lookout. I had originally planned to leave the EMTSRM at the lookout, thinking there would be no more comfortable and scenic a place for Ed to spend the winter should he become stranded, but given the shutters would be closed the next day and the danger that might accrue to someone tempted to retrieve the register late or early in the season I figured Ed would be just as happy to have spent one night in the lookout and continue to travel during winter. As such, I brought him back down, but if anyone would like to place the register in the near future, let me know and I'll be happy to pass it on.
Joined: 02 Mar 2003 Posts: 10997 | TRs | Pics Location: Going to Tukwila
Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:25 pm
Nice...very very nice... Phenomenal weather for this late in the season and looks like you made the most of ti.
Thanks for the pics and TR, Tom!
-------------- "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
Joined: 21 Dec 2001 Posts: 3188 | TRs | Pics Location: Down the road and around the corner
Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:42 pm
I like the Pickets at Sunrise. Knarley lookin from here.
Those from the G3?
-------------- It's pretty safe to say that if we take all of man kinds accumulated knowledge, we still don't know everything. So, I hope you understand why I don't believe you know everything. But then again, maybe you do.
Joined: 12 Oct 2006 Posts: 586 | TRs | Pics Location: Edmonds, WA
Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:52 pm
Great TR Tom. It was a pleasure to be on this trip with you, from start to finish. There were times when I felt like Ed's spirit was with us. I was planning on posting a report as well, but WWU homework is taking up all my free time right now, so it may be awhile.
Joined: 27 Sep 2006 Posts: 730 | TRs | Pics Location: the end of my rope
Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:44 am
Thanks for the TR and the great pictures. I went up there for the first time last August on a bluebird day, a really great trip, but your pictures make mine ( ) look sorta sorry. Did you take them in your condition or did Adam take them with your camera? (or did you already answer that and I missed it? )
-------------- We don't stop hiking because we grow old; we grow old because we stop hiking. --Finis Mitchell
Adam, likewise, great to share this trip with you. Hope I didn't get you sick.
Thanks Dacker, those are my shots. Adam took a few more with my camera that afternoon before he discovered what was going on with his camera and got his working again. There was a constant breeze outside the lookout which brought the outside temps down well below freezing so I waited inside for what seemed to be the best lighting and crossed my fingers. I was lucky to have brought a mini tripod which really helped. I wouldn't have gotten some of those sunrise shots without it.
Get Out and Go wrote:
OK Tom, You've convinced me. I'm going. What a WOW place to spend the night!
If you go I'd recommend doing it on a weekday. It can get pretty crowded up there on weekends. Also, just so you know, the maintenance crew said that before they left they were going to pull the hand rope above the ladders for winter and close the shutters. This week it will be snowing up there so without technical gear or a bout of warm weather to de-ice the ladders I wouldn't attempt it until next July. The earliest entires I saw in the lookout register were late June and the latest were late October. I am told early in the season the ridge route isn't an option and you have to cross the glaicer so be safe and prepared if you go. It's only a walk up in late summer.
Thanks Gerard, scanning the lookout register I saw your name a few times. I guess it shouldn't have surprised me given your 3fngrs handle. I was looking to see if Ed had signed the register when we were up there but I think we never got around to it. The lookout was mobbed that day.
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