Forum Index > Trip Reports > TNAB: Blasted on Bandera 5/28/2009
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PostFri May 29, 2009 6:20 am 
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A continuous cacophony of cross-valley gunfire set the tone for last night's TNAB assault on West Bandera.  Amidst a barrage of multi-caliber bangs and booms, a relatively compact TNAB group of Malachai Constant, Larry, ewb, Zeusdaddy, Yukon222, Mike, Elisha, BarbE, SeattleHikertoo, OneTwoLaugh, Nature Man and Magnum, along with a K9 contingent of Zeus, Athena and Digger, took aim at the mild, medium, and spicy grades of the Ira Spring Memorial trail.  It was a long and pitched battle, but when the smoke cleared and the sun set, the gang had taken nearly 8 miles of trail and 3,720' of elevation, and West Bandera was down for the count.

As with TNAB's earlier assault on Putrid Pete, the Bandera trek began with a moderately well flagged half mile bushwhack 600' up from I-90's exit 42 along Mason Creek to the heavily damaged and still closed road.  From there the way is west to the empty trailhead, then continues straight through to the trail proper.  The trail shortly makes a right hand switchback and begins a steady southeast climb for nearly two miles to the next switchback.  There are two significant slides/blowouts on the trail here, both easily skirted, one at what is now a small creek before Mason Creek, and the other at Mason Creek itself.  The latter crossing is a bit hairy, requiring one to trust a jumble of splintered logs to avoid the fairly deep and fast moving melt water.

After switching back left, right, and left again, the trail passes beneath the remains of the last real snow field, which reaches to just above the trail beyond the next right switchback.  There were some tracks heading up it and some old glissade gutters coming down it, but it's all melting out pretty quickly.  Most of the gang stuck to the trail, side-hilling the snow patches, which were steep but brief, and with fairly solid footing.

Hanging a right at the Mason Lake trail junction, the way turns up, up, up, gaining over 1,000' in a short half mile to the West Bandera summit.  Snow was still solid in the trees, and was a mixed bag when approaching and leaving them.  Postholing opportunities may soon be abundant until more of the rocks are exposed.

The weather couldn't have been better.  No clouds, a very slight breeze, and a nice warm sun.  There were some occasional bugs, but they mostly stuck to the shade and were not at all aggressive.  The views at the summit went on forever, exposing numerous volcanoes and other Cascadian peaks in every direction.  Snacks and water were shared, pictures taken, and Yukon222, when asked about a high pitched whistle, which was heard a few times between gunshots, ventured a ghostly tale of Dirty Harry blowing an end of day whistle on his trusty old logging truck o' these many years later.  Chilling.  Or maybe it was just the Bandera banshee?  We may never know.

The descent into the setting sun and waning gunfire was peaceful, picturesque, and (mostly) trouble-free.  The trail's incremental grades, which provide a great warm-up on the ascent, are almost healing on the descent, allowing one's stride to grow gradually longer and more comfortable as the miles add up.  Until eventually, you're back at the empty trailhead facing a dark bushwhack back to I-90.

My experience was slightly different.  Rounding the trail's last switchback, I was spooked by what I thought was a male voice in the trees to my right.  Being an experienced scaredy cat, I knew this was likely a trail marauder of some sort, and it was best to just close my eyes and run, which I did all the way to the trailhead.  There I had a mild heart attack as I stumbled upon a gang of loitering TNABers, who were pretending to be enjoying the mild evening, but were actually waiting to provide me some company for the trip's last leg.

Thank you, MC, BarbE, and OneTwoLaugh!  You guys are the best!  wub.gif

(Oh, and it just dawned on me that if I could hear you guys at the trailhead over my frightened breathing, there's a good chance you all could hear the various sounds emanating from me on the night's still air for a very long time, and for this I am deeply sorry, but in my defense I will say 1) it's natural, dang it, and 2) er ... look, a marauder!  embarassedlaugh.gif)

Good times, TNAB!  Good times.  smile.gif

Larry, MC, Digger PreNAB
Larry, MC, Digger PreNAB
Failure #1
Failure #1
Failure #2 (Mason Creek)
Failure #2 (Mason Creek)
Snowfield
Snowfield
Mason-Bandera Trail Junction
Mason-Bandera Trail Junction
I-90 Sun
I-90 Sun
Bandera Log
Bandera Log
Magnum Cornice Surfing
Magnum Cornice Surfing
Kaleetan and Chair Peaks
Kaleetan and Chair Peaks
I-90 Sunset
I-90 Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Moonrise
Moonrise
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Scrooge
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PostFri May 29, 2009 6:45 am 
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Eric, I thought the TNAB bylaws said something about carrying and using a camera? Who's gonna believe bushwhacking in the dark, if you don't have pictures to prove it?

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Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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PostFri May 29, 2009 6:53 am 
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Scrooge wrote:
Eric, I thought the TNAB bylaws said something about carrying and using a camera? Who's gonna believe bushwhacking in the dark, if you don't have pictures to prove it?

True that!  They're coming, promise. smile.gif

Dark Bushwhack for Scrooge
Dark Bushwhack for Scrooge
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wamtngal
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PostFri May 29, 2009 7:34 am 
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Hah! Very nice report, ewb - I also enjoyed the homage to the Bandera Banshee...I still remember that moment like it was yesterday.  biggrin.gif
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Malachai Constant
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PostFri May 29, 2009 8:52 am 
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A few pix but not as good as EWBs
Her Highness
Her Highness
Time to Go UP
Time to Go UP
Lens Flair
Lens Flair
View from Trail up
View from Trail up
More Flair
More Flair
Hot Time in the City
Hot Time in the City
Cliche'
Cliche'

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Backpacker Joe
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PostFri May 29, 2009 11:30 am 
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I was there this morning. How far did you all drive in?  To the big washout?

It was some good driving. up.gif

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln
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yukon222
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PostFri May 29, 2009 12:55 pm 
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ewb - very nice write up although I think you mistakenly did a "too good" of a job and may be required to write more of them in the future.   lol.gif

DSD_1513 - upper slopes of West Bandera
DSD_1513 - upper slopes of West Bandera
DSD_1519 - Soaring Seattlehikertoo
DSD_1519 - Soaring Seattlehikertoo
DSD_1523 - and the landing turned out well too!
DSD_1523 - and the landing turned out well too!
DSD_1534 - the edge
DSD_1534 - the edge
dsd_1538 bandera mtn sunset
dsd_1538 bandera mtn sunset
DSD_1544 - all the colors
DSD_1544 - all the colors
DSD_1549 - worth the descent in darkness to view the sunset
DSD_1549 - worth the descent in darkness to view the sunset
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Huron
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PostFri May 29, 2009 1:25 pm 
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Welcome back veteran TNABers Mike and Alisha!

TNAB on the ridge
TNAB on the ridge
Snow melting fast
Snow melting fast
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Yet
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PostFri May 29, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Excellent TR, ewb!  smile.gif

ewb wrote:
Thank you, MC, BarbE, and OneTwoLaugh!  You guys are the best!  wub.gif

Speaking from personal experience, I concur that they are indeed first-rate.  up.gif
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BarbE
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PostFri May 29, 2009 5:27 pm 
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Thanks Yet and ewb for the nice comment.
I totally agree on ewb writing an excellent trip report.  up.gif
Well, he more than deserved us waiting for him to give him a ride.
Actually MC ought to get credit for waiting for all of us and daring to drive the seriously washed out road. eek.gif
Not only did ewb bring donuts for the summit he also offered me water when I ran low.  angel.gif
Made me remember the good old days when there used to be brownies.  hockeygrin.gif
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PostFri May 29, 2009 5:59 pm 
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Another nice TR...Thanks Eric...I have some pics...Again, sorry about the Iphone pics.
Devastating washout
Devastating washout
Washout gives way to a new waterfall on the trail
Washout gives way to a new waterfall on the trail
TNAB muscle men discussing how they leaped over the washout so easily
TNAB muscle men discussing how they leaped over the washout so easily
Tahoma under crystal clear skies
Tahoma under crystal clear skies
Tahoma beginning to glow
Tahoma beginning to glow
Glowing trees below the summit ridge
Glowing trees below the summit ridge
Glowing trees talking to Tahoma
Glowing trees talking to Tahoma
True summit on the right. Granite Lookout and Kaleetan in between the trees.
True summit on the right. Granite Lookout and Kaleetan in between the trees.
TNAB-Bandera-090528 006
TNAB-Bandera-090528 006
TNABer on the sun-baked west summit ridge
TNABer on the sun-baked west summit ridge
TNABer on the sun-baked west summit ridge
TNABer on the sun-baked west summit ridge
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Scrooge
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PostFri May 29, 2009 6:32 pm 
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Dark bushwhack, unexpurgated edition.

.
.

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Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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PostFri May 29, 2009 8:02 pm 
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Scrooge wrote:
Dark bushwhack, unexpurgated edition.

Good kitty, nice kitty!   paranoid.gif  lol.gif  up.gif
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PostFri May 29, 2009 8:04 pm 
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seattlehikertoo wrote:
I have some pics...Again, sorry about the Iphone pics.

Sorry, schmoory - dude, your iPhone takes fantastic pics (or, rather, you do with your iPhone).  "Glowing trees talking to Tahoma" and "TNABer on the sun-baked west summit ridge" are both wonderful!  up.gif
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Go Jo
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PostSat May 30, 2009 12:34 pm 
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OK, now that I'm finally finished pouting about missing the start of the TNAB season I'm ready to comment on the great write up, fantastic sunset photos and all around fun-ness of this week's hike.
You guys are making it tough to sit on the sidelines, but it sure is a motivating factor to do my PT exercises every day! Thanks again ewb for your literary efforts.
Look Ma, no boot!
Look Ma, no boot!
'you're coming with us?'
'you're coming with us?'
ankle is a bit fired up
ankle is a bit fired up

I made it to the top of my driveway this week and out to the fire station & back (.5mi & 18ft elev gain), but alas no spectacular sunset shots...
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