**For pictures from our night, please keep scrolling down the thread**
0321recon ~ Bob
meandmyaussies ~ Rich & aussies
malachai constant ~ Don
yukon222 ~ Steve
schmidt altitude ~ Jeremy, Tisha & whippets
moosefish ~ John & tokul
magnum ~ Chris
the lykkens/zeusdaddy ~ Scott, Jo & yellow dogs
Destination: Granite Mt Lookout
Weather: Clear & cold with a bright full moon!
Distance: approx 8.6 miles
Elev gain: 3829ft give or take
We played a week long game of hot potato with the leadership role during the planning stages of this adventure, but a few hundred emails and jokes later we found ourselves with a trail head and a time frame, but still no official team captain. I think perhaps the whippets were secretly pulling all the strings since they jumped out in trail formation to show this rag tag crew how it's done.
We headed out from the parking lot and were immediately surprised that the trail had become a roaring creek bed, sad to say, there may be some trail repair necessary after the flood waters recede. There was no moon in the trees and we climbed swiftly up the trail by headlamp light, pushing to get off the sludgy mud and onto the snow. As we went up so did the conditions of the trail, less mud, more solid footing and the ascent continued. Until mine stopped. It was then that I realized I must have a special bond with this group if I'm willing to boot up* my cold medicine to keep pace with them. *to boot: hiking term for tossing my cookies. We sprinted up just long enough to toss them the summit libations and our farewells, my cold had won the battle and I was finished. Off they went and I sat down on a rock to get my disappointment in check and my stomach settled.
Here is where I began my story of the tortoise and the hare: The veterans may make the cut off, but the rookies will still get there! Yep, it rhymes like Dr Seuss, I love that guy! We could see the moon taunting us from just beyond the tree cover, so Scott & I decided to continue on, setting a new goal of the bigger waterfall before the open meadows. The atmosphere was amazing, the new snow on the trees glowing with back light from the moon, the entire valley was clear and bright. At the falls crossing we decided not to turn back, though I learned a lesson about the formation of ice on rocks near running water and had to hike with a wet shirt for the next thirty minutes. **Jeremy judged this waterfall to be at 4200ft, cross with caution.
We continued to follow the boot and paw prints that had broken through the ice up into the meadows and around the back side of the summer rock scramble, arriving in the valley just in time to see the TNAB headlamps reach the summit above us.
The dialogue sounded something like this:
Scott: time to use the radios
Jo: stragglers to summit team, over.
Jo:TNAB to steve, over.
Jo: no answer, must be turned off. Think they can see us?
Scott: maybe, but it's decision time babe.
Jo: that looks pretty far, maybe 1,500 ft?
Scott: ummm, gps says 400ft
Jo: wow, looks like a long way up...
Here lay our final decision: 1)stop and take out our layers and snacks until the group comes down and descend together 2)push for the top with the knowledge that we may make it only part way there and be turned around with an empty tummy. In the end, we took the best part of what we've learned from this season of TNAB and went with it: You will never regret trying! And we actually made the peak in time for a photo and then it was down coats and gloves because holy smokes it's cold as a mother up there. The boys with toys guesstimated between 22 and 25 degrees and photography took a back seat to frostbite prevention.
The down climb from the tower was not PG as many of us lost all feeling in our fingers and it became R rated as the blood and feeling came painfully back to them as we crossed the valley. Going down went like it usually does, quickly and with a bit more conversation than on the approach. Tisha resembled the Pied Piper as she led a gaggle of hounds in glowing jackets and frozen leashes along the trail. We had few slips and no tumbles since we had identified most of the tough spots on the way up and were extra cautious on the ice. I only mention this because it may be a first for me, queen of gracefulness*.
When we hit the skids, that part of the trail that is uninteresting and seems to last forever, the last miles between you and a hot meal, Jeremy jumped in to distract us from our pain with Zoolander humor (he earned the right to write my eugoogly should I not make it back to the car). Around this same time I began to hallucinate from my cold, which I had been trying so desperately to ignore, and punished those nearest me by bursting into whatever song their words inspired. They had no idea I was simply prepping them for the horrible karaoke they would hear at Pour House later...
This was a great first Lunatique hike thanks to the TNAB crew who shared the experience with me... worth every step. Those that know me well will realize how sick I was by the following statement ~ I forgot to take any pictures! So please, fellow Lunatiques, save my photoless TR with some entertaining shots!! ~Jo
GPS shows that we managed to follow the standard route, even with the snow cover up high... good lead, Yukon!
Yep - that was definitely the way to go. I went up the winter route but got blocked at the boulder field - they were too big for my dogs but the moderate amount of snow would have made them treacherous anyway. Lucky for us, about that time Yukon, Babe and the whippets came ripping up the valley below us. My Aussies wasted no time in ditching me for someone with a better plan so we fell into their draft and made it to the top.
I did not take any pics either but, other than summit pics, I don't think I would have been able get any that would do justice to the night. It was just amazing how the moonlight reflecting off the snow just lit the place up with an eerie, almost dream-like glow. Good times.
awesome pictures. i was up there tuesday (vets day) with a friend. we wanted to make it to the top but we couldn't due to time, light, and safety issues. the rocks were covered with a little bit of snow. it was really steep from where we were.
Would you please enlighten me about how your group went about making it to the lookout?
We might have been approaching it from the wrong side or something, I really don't know.
edit: dang that frozen waterfall is where i got a refill. again, amazing photos.
I was really looking forward to this full moon hike, especially when the weather kept clearing and clearing all day Thursday. As we started up the trail trying to half avoid the many streams of water flowing every direction, it was still quite dark as the moon was still hidden by the bulk of Granite Mountain.
The first treat was at about 3200' when we could see part of the forest lit up by the Moon's powerful beam. Fresh snow hung on the trees and the contrast between the sharp edge of black forest and brilliant white was special. Tricky little crossing of the waterfall as the spray had coated the rocks with a thick glaze of ice. The next 20 minutes, we shut off are headlamps and went up the trail a little slower so we could enjoy the Moon's company. Not quite bright enough to read by but the meadows were lit up nicely.
The backside basin had quite a few frozen (water filled, then froze over but not completely ) pathways that twisted thru the snow. Perhaps half of them would hold your weight. The final couple hundred feet to the summit was pleasant, trekking thru 10" of snow.
Thanks to Rich, Don and Bob for heading up early and setting the track to the basin. Fortunately, there was a single set of old tracks that helped me pick my way thru the basin. Enough moonlight to see the lookout so there was a perfect reference point to judge while trying to keep on trail.
Geoffrey - sounds like you might have tried to stay on the ridgeline and work thru the big boulders to the tower. Before that point, go slightly right to get into the back north basin. Trail will hook around to the north ridge and up to the summit. No difficulties.
A couple of poor pictures here - didn't take the time to set up the camera so these are kludgy 1" second handheld exposures. But I think they give a little bit of an idea of the views.
Way to go, Jo - and all. Granite in a couple hours in the dark with flooded trail, ice and snow? Whew! Lunatique hikes... aka Ultimate TNAB.
The moon must've been pleased with your hard work in it's name. It shone particularly brilliantly that night. Well done. And extra credit to you, Jo, for doing it while sick.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You cannot attach files in this forum You can download files in this forum