Forum Index > Trip Reports > Red Top Lookout - FANTASTIC!  March 7, 2008
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 10:12 pm 
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WOW!  What a day.  The destination today was Red Top Lookout.  I know, I know, big deal!  It's only a short 1/2 mile hike - well, yeah, during the summer when you can drive practically to the doorstep!  Oh no, this is a good work-out.  Nothing scary - well, a couple of challenging spots - but very "doable."  But first, some housekeeping:
Thanks, Matt, for your great trip report from last year (posted here on NW Hikers) - we more-or-less followed your route - except where we didn't!  It was a heck of a lot warmer today than when you did it!  Item #2, we're on a roll now!  This is the 4th STRAIGHT successful summit for Jim K and Opus  up.gif - Everest here they come!   lol.gif Opus will post the "official" stats, but here's what we figured:
About 9 hours roundtrip (including lunch and breaks) - less than 5 hours to the lookout and about 3 hours 30 minutes out.
About 28 degrees when we started - probably got in upper 30s/low 40s mid-day; they had predicted stiff winds - but we only felt the wind at the summit.
4000 or 4200' of elevation gain
14 to 15 miles distance (car-to-car)
Item #3, this was Middle E's (Barry) FIRST trip in the Teanaways - we'll change that!
We were going to save this trip until after Daylight Savings Time started so we would have more daylight hours, but we were able to do it in daylight.  Barry (Middle E), Jim K and I started from the 65th Park and Ride about 6:20 a.m.; Opus, Jack, and Trail Pair started from the S.E. 8th P&R about 6:30 a.m.  The weather was predicted to be cloudy - maybe even snowing - in the early morning.  Well, when we got to the start along the North Fork of the Teanaway, it was blue sky!  We parked at Mile Post 11 on the North Fork Teanaway Road.
Mile Post 11 - the place to pull over
Mile Post 11 - the place to pull over
Barry and Jim K with Gusto getting ready
Barry and Jim K with Gusto getting ready
Jack and rest of gang getting ready
Jack and rest of gang getting ready
Looking down the Teanaway Road toward Earl
Looking down the Teanaway Road toward Earl

You actually start about 100 yards south of there (we didn't start at the gated road, which is Indian Creek).
Gusto getting his walking stick
Gusto getting his walking stick
K in the sparkling snow as we head out
K in the sparkling snow as we head out

The beginning is fairly gentle as we headed up the first of many ridges.
Stuart and Earl as we start out
Stuart and Earl as we start out

In about 3/4 of a mile, we found an interesting addition to the scenery.
Emergency survival gear hanging from a tree
Emergency survival gear hanging from a tree

Since most of us had read Matt's report, we were familiar with the recommended route, but it always looks different from ground level!
Barry explaining the route to Gus (Gus is only interested in the possibility of a treat)
Barry explaining the route to Gus (Gus is only interested in the possibility of a treat)

Although the snow is well consolidated, a couple of our group still were post-holing - so snowshoes were on and off all day.  However, we did run into areas where there was no snow, too.
Heading up ridge on dirt
Heading up ridge on dirt

Basically, we were on one ridge or another most of the way - but when I hear "ridge walk" - I envision these nice, long walks along a fairly level, broad ridge  shakehead.gif For the most part, our ridge walks were up!!!  (We had to gain that 4000' somehow.)  Also, note that you will gain and lose elevation frequently.
Through the clear cut toward the ridge
Through the clear cut toward the ridge
Lookout is a long, long way away
Lookout is a long, long way away
Entering forested part of the ridge
Entering forested part of the ridge

We did stop for a few breaks 
Snack break on ridge
Snack break on ridge
Jack's new best friend
Jack's new best friend
Looking back to the ridge where we took a snack break
Looking back to the ridge where we took a snack break

Even though we could frequently see the lookout - it still was a long way off - we didn't know if we would make it to the lookout with enough time to get back to the car before dark.
Still a long way away!
Still a long way away!
Jim describing the way to the lookout way in the distance
Jim describing the way to the lookout way in the distance
Heading up ridge
Heading up ridge
K coming down a tricky descent along the ridge
K coming down a tricky descent along the ridge
Jim K heading up the ridge against a cloudless sky
Jim K heading up the ridge against a cloudless sky
Miller Peak in the distance
Miller Peak in the distance

We finally reached a the last major ridge that would lead us to the lookout - there was hope! agree.gif  We were able to look across and see Tronsen Ridge where we were last weekend.
Looking East/Northeast across Blewett Pass and to Tronsen Ridge
Looking East/Northeast across Blewett Pass and to Tronsen Ridge

Gusto found what looked to be a kennel and maybe a rest spot!  lol.gif 
Hmm - what's this?
Hmm - what's this?

The rest of us trudged on.
Ridge walk heading towards lookout
Ridge walk heading towards lookout
The big "R" in the distance
The big "R" in the distance

Not quite sure what these are for - probably summer use only.
Signs for what?
Signs for what?

We pressed on . . .
Destination still in the distance
Destination still in the distance

Finally, we were at the last push to the top.  However, this is where the route can be risky.  Matt talked about a 20' step.  What we found, however, was fairly soft snow and an easy route to kick step up through a notch to the ridge to the lookout.  I was initially worried whether Gusto could make it, but no problem - his 4-paw crampons easily took him to the ridge.  We took our snowshoes off prior to ascending up through the notch and just used boots and an ice ax.  It was absolutely fabulous!  What a view.   
K on the way to our destination
K on the way to our destination
Gusto heading for the lunch break!
Gusto heading for the lunch break!
Looking out along the ridge that leads to the lookout - Stuart/Stuart range and Enchantments in the distance
Looking out along the ridge that leads to the lookout - Stuart/Stuart range and Enchantments in the distance
Lookout sign at the base of the lookout
Lookout sign at the base of the lookout
On top!
On top!

Our descent back to where we left our snowshoes was equally as easy - no big steps and an easy drop back to the ridge.
Red Top as an Island in the sky
Red Top as an Island in the sky
Our route is to the right of the rock block on the ridge - a little notch that looks impossible
Our route is to the right of the rock block on the ridge - a little notch that looks impossible
The "crew" on the ridge as we head down
The "crew" on the ridge as we head down

For the most part the route down was easy to follow on our earlier tracks.
B & K with Gusto heading down slope in soft snow
B & K with Gusto heading down slope in soft snow
Jack coming off of ridge
Jack coming off of ridge

but when we got back to the clear cut, somehow we got confused and ended up being too far north - so we came out the Indian Creek road - but it led us right back to the cars. (Thanks, Barry - and thanks to David's GPS!)
Heading out at sun down on Indian Creek Road
Heading out at sun down on Indian Creek Road

All-in-all an absolutely great day - we got back to the cars before dark and there even was a note on the Driver's car from Nikolai (two dog dad), who arrived later than we did and ran out of time to make it to the lookout.  dizzy.gif  doh.gif Great group of folks to spend a full day in the Teanaways!   winksmile.gif  (sorry you didn't get to do Teanaway Butte too, Barry, you were with a group of slow-pokes!   embarassedlaugh.gif  hmmm.gif )

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 11:28 pm 
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Looks like a fun trip. I've never gone up from the North Fork road before, of course when I go up there it's to volunteer at the lookout which includes bringing up food and plenty of water biggrin.gif  Nice to see what the lookout looks like all boarded up. Though I must say that brown shutters are ugly, they should be white.
Glad you guys made the summit up.gif   Great pictures, thanks for sharing biggrin.gif

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Type E
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Joined: 19 Aug 2006
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Type E
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PostSat Mar 08, 2008 11:55 pm 
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Good work, I will be able to get a view of your route Monday weather permitting of course!
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 2:13 am 
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Looks like you all had a great time.
It does look much warmer.  For some reason, that valley was an icebox when we started.

FWIW, my 2006 trip report actually isn't on nwhikers, but it's here.

BTW, some people said they haven't been able to access the old reports from my site.  If you run into that, let me know.


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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 7:42 am 
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Type E wrote:
Good work, I will be able to get a view of your route Monday weather permitting of course!

T/E - Good luck!  We found that often our track wasn't visible because the warmth/sun melted out the steps.  Be sure and check out Matt's map (he put a link in this report) and also David's (Opus) addition.  It's a great trip - hope the weather cooperates.   agree.gif   s.d.

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
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Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 7:43 am 
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Yes, my first trip to the Teanaway's, summer or winter, and the spectacular weather was just as advertised.  up.gif  I have this rule that the hiking time has to be longer than driving time...and considering the 9 hours of hiking and our, um, brisk pace on the road there was no danger of breaking this rule.  Are there any hikes shorter than 9 hours?  wink.gif  A few photos to add.
Teanaway ridge
Teanaway ridge
Final ridge
Final ridge
Mt. Stuart
Mt. Stuart
Driver and drivee on summit
Driver and drivee on summit
Jim descending the chute
Jim descending the chute

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Opus
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Joined: 04 Mar 2006
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 9:20 am 
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What a great trip!  Fantastic weather, fun travel, some spicy spots getting on the lookout ridge.  A long day but well worth it.  After editing out the extraneous blips in my GPS track it turns out we only did 12.8 miles with 4125 ft total gain.  Guess we should have added in a few extra little ridge bumps along the way!  clown.gif

Full trip photos here.  I'll add photo captions soon.

EDIT: Some panoramas!
Ridgetop view
Ridgetop view
Stuart range
Stuart range
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mtnrider
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mtnrider
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 9:22 am 
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Thanks for bringing back memories of a great trip.  When we did this trip back in the 70's & 80's on snowshoes or skiis we usually went in from the east.  The Blue Creek Road can sometimes be driven to the junction at 3600' but if not we did it on foot.  From that junction we more or less followed the route of the old Blue Creek Trail to near the lookout and then ascended to the top by the route you described.
The first time we did that trip we ran into lots of snowmobiles on the Blue Creek Rd.  When asked how many were in their group they answered about three hundred or so!  Seems there was a snowmobile convention in Cle Elum and they all were headed to the Mineral Springs Resort for lunch.
We had to get off that road so we headed up the old Blue Creek Trail.  It's a good route.
Thanks for the great trip report.  I'm glad you experience the marvelous Teanaway weather.
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yukon222
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 9:30 am 
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Opus wrote:
What a great trip! 

Glad you guys had such wonderful weather although the Teanaway seldom disappoints!  Opus, love this shot.  Heading into the light, a little bit of unknown as you can't see what they are moving towards.  Just great!   up.gif
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 9:44 am 
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Opus wrote:
What a great trip!  Fantastic weather, fun travel, some spicy spots getting on the lookout ridge.  A long day but well worth it.  After editing out the extraneous blips in my GPS track it turns out we only did 12.8 miles with 4125 ft total gain.  Guess we should have added in a few extra little ridge bumps along the way!  clown.gif

You lie!  It was AT LEAST 30 miles!!  lol.gif  winksmile.gif Love the shot of Jack going up that chute - a great way to describe the trickiest part of the trip.  Great pics, David!  Thanks.  s.d.

Middle E wrote:
Yes, my first trip to the Teanaway's, summer or winter, and the spectacular weather was just as advertised.    I have this rule that the hiking time has to be longer than driving time...and considering the 9 hours of hiking and our, um, brisk pace on the road there was no danger of breaking this rule.  Are there any hikes shorter than 9 hours?

M/E - Just wait until we take you on a long hike!!!   eek.gif  Excuse me? Are you saying 1 1/2 hours of driving time was fast?   confused.gif  Honest, there just wasn't any traffic!!!   suuure.gif  embarassedlaugh.gif  hmmm.gif

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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TrailPair
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TrailPair
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 12:02 pm 
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With all of the great photos already posted we don't have much to add. 
Jim K and Driver
Jim K and Driver
Jack, Jim K, Barry and K
Jack, Jim K, Barry and K
Bob on  Red Top. Opus below.
Bob on  Red Top. Opus below.
Another view of Look Out.
Another view of Look Out.
Opus and Jack descending chute.
Opus and Jack descending chute.
Jim K approaching chute.
Jim K approaching chute.

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Curtissimo
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 2:21 pm 
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outstanding trip! now i know where we should have gone this weekend but didn't!

agree with yukon on that shot being favorite.
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Magellan
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Magellan
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 2:23 pm 
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Really great trip you guys.  The picture of Jim K pointing at something has become a tradition.  Teanaway rockband.gif
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Yet
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 2:29 pm 
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SD and gang -
You all have such fantastic adventures!
I'm only just a little bit jealous.  wink.gif
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More Cowbell
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More Cowbell
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 3:13 pm 
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I love the one pic without the snow heading up the ridge.  I can just smell those morel spores getting ready for hunting season (shroom hunting that is).

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“If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.” - Unknown
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Red Top Lookout - FANTASTIC!  March 7, 2008
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