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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> TNAB - Wright Mountain, wrong weather
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yukon222
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:36 pm    TNAB - Wright Mountain, wrong weather
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August 13, 2009

TNAB'ers - Alti-Babe, Andy, BarbE, Ewb, Jeff, Kirbinator, Malachai Constant, WxMan, Yukon222, Zephyr and ZeusDaddy

TWAG'ers - Kiefer and Rowena

On the drive to the Alpental parking lot at Snoqualmie Pass, I kept looking at the dark clouds on the horizon.  Well, not really on the horizon.  They were above, to the side; may have been below my car too. lol.gif   Every little patch of blue sky that would momentarily appear was greeted with joy.  But one by one, they were slowly buried by the onslaught of clouds.

A few TNAB'ers left early to set up the trail for the main group.  Cool and cloudy when we left the parking lot but no one expected the "dry" conditions to last long.  We all knew it was coming; just didn't know when.  So we scurried along the rocky trail with just a brief pause at the Snow Lake overlook.
A light rain had begun falling but it was more annoying than anything else.  And it seemed like it might actually fully stop as we neared the shore of Snow Lake.
But that only lasted for a minute or two.  Winds picked up and a heavy rain began falling.  No one complained.  In fact, I don't recall anyone speaking about it all.  Just absorbed the bone-chilling wind, pushed thru the soaking brush and stepped thru/around assorted mud puddles.  The views would pop into our vision, very briefly.  Hurry to get the camera out, snap a pic and press onward.
The final bit of talus near the summit was starting to get slick but we had enough daylight left to choose our footing.  Several gazes to the west at the feeble sunlight near the horizon, extra jackets and gloves dug out of packs and we started back down.
Several groups camping at Gem Lake and a few more at Snow Lake.  None of them outside of their tents as the darkness fell.  Fortunately, the rains drifted away as did the wind so the clothes started to dry out as we hiked back up to the Overlook.  Some gnomes had magically lengthened the trail while we were at the summit so it actually took us 20 minutes longer to get back than it did for our ascent.   embarassedlaugh.gif

Plenty of hot food and cold beverages at the local North Bend establishment.  One of these days, we'll be fortunate enough to enjoy another TNAB sunset. smile.gif
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Go Jo
of the lykkens



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
Posts: 2456 | TRs | Pics
Location: Around The Bend
Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:11 pm   
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yukon222 wrote:
TWAG'ers

Just when I thought we were out of clever acronyms someone comes up with one that makes me smile. Well done!  up.gif  up.gif
Sorry your talus was served well chilled, congrats on making great time to a high distance destination. hink.gif  hink.gif  hink.gif  hink.gif  hink.gif  hink.gif hink.gif  hink.gif  hink.gif  hink.gif  hink.gif
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Ingunn
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Joined: 01 Feb 2008
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Location: Redmond
Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:12 pm   
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Evil trail gnomes... rant.gif

Too bad you didn't have better weather, but at least you weren't camping!
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zephyr
aka friendlyHiker



Joined: 21 Jun 2009
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Location: West Seattle
Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:17 pm    Pre-NAB'ing to Wright.
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Great trip reporting, Yukon!  You captured the weather, the moods and the excitement.  And the group photo you took (TNAB site) is awesome.  Everyone looks happy and the whippets are looking in to the camera.  (You wouldnt know that some of us were freezing.)

I pre-Nabbed to allow time for a little extra exploring around Gem Lake and to summit with the crew.  (Definitely needed.)

Normally I wait for good weather windows for my day hikes.  But if you are on a schedule such as TNABs, you have to go when duty calls.  I was thinking these thoughts and others as I drove through a torrential downpour along I-90 yesterday between North Bend and Exit 38.   I departed the Alpental parking lot around 4 pm in a steady drizzle.  There werent that many vehicles left in the lot and I passed several bedraggled, soaked day hikers on their return trip as I made my way up the valley.  The rains stopped.  I reached the pass above Snow Lake within an hour.  Clouds were low but moving and allowing views of the lake below.  I even saw some sun breaks above the lake.   Several folks were camped throughout the basin.  I met others along the way searching for spots further up the trail.

Then on the upper reaches above Snow, I came across two guys, a father and son team from Oak Harbor who where searching for Gem Lake.  They had missed the trail and wandered down toward the shore until they realized their mistake.  I stuck with them the rest of the way and guided them to the shores of Gem.  They didnt have a map and were surprised at how much higher and farther the second lake was.  I spotted a couple more tents and tarps at Gem, actually on the far shore high up on the western ridge.

As I made my way up toward Wright Peak, the rains returned with a steady downpour.  I brushed through the blueberries and brush, instantly getting soaked, since I had not brought rain pants.  Lesson learned.  I climbed up the winding boot path to the summit slabs and made it to the top.  No one in sight.  It had been three hours from the parking lot and another hour at least until the main party arrived.  The clouds were thick all around, but views opened down below occasionally.  It was beautiful, but just not that inviting.  I moved down slope to a small grove of larger hemlocks and took shelter.  I could just barely see the trail around Gem Lake.  After a very long half hour or so, I spotted movement on the slabs.  It was Malachai.  We hung out on the summit taking a few photos and discussed the possibility of heading back down.  Times like that you wonder if anyone else is even coming (or did they just do a turnaround at Gem Lake?).  Malachai had faith though.

We moved back away from the summit to look at the lake and then there they were!  TNAB on target.  They had arrived within two hours of departure!  Everyone quickly threw off their packs and grabbed for warmer gear.  My own hands were so cold that I couldnt get them to work and had to have help getting my waist buckle undone.  Good times.

Celebrations, peak discussions, snacks and photos ensued.  Then we all repacked and headed down together.  Near Gem Lake, with more equipment adjusting and headlamp donning we set off at a quick pace.   We ended up in two parties, faster in front and somewhat slower in the rear.  Props to zeusdaddy for riding herd and keeping us all together in the dark.  You rock!   up.gif  The first party was waiting for us in the parking lot and then we all headed to N. Bend for merriment and replenishment.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:22 pm   
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Hard core hikers - you have my utmost respect for pressing on in spite of the weather.
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Malachai Constant
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:24 pm   
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Started up early in the rain as I knew speed demons would soon be on my trail. As I approached switchbacks blue sky appeared aka sucker hole. Checked out a few obscure camp sites near lake aka got off trail. AS I neared Gem it began raining, considered waiting by lake but it was too cold. Headed up toward Wright. As I neared 3rd false summit heard a voice, "Don? Mal?" looked up saw nothing. Continued on and soon saw Zephyr and headed toward final summit. At summit took a few pictures.
Started getting cold. Clouds moved in and we considered bailing. Discussed route to Chair Peak Lake.
Just as we were packed up and ready to bail we saw the rest of the TNABers coming up. Stuck around for the group shot and headed down. Yukon is right gnomes nearly doubled the length of the trail on the way down. Took longer than up also.

--------------
"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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unnu
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:37 pm   
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Weather considered, the views from the summit weren't half bad.  A couple shots I took:


(Thanks for letting this rookie TNABer tag along.  See y'all again in a week or two.)
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:52 pm   
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As the thunder boomed and lightning flashed at my house I was glad not to be up at the pass.

Two years in a row the weather has been less than cooperative, and two years in a row it took longer to get out than to get in.  confused.gif
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gone
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:52 pm   
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Great reports, everyone!  And a great effort, too!  Considering the weather, you all got some really nice pics!  up.gif

It was great seeing TNABers in the wild again, even if only in the parking lot.  The feet are still healing, so I settled for an ezNAB around Alpental and enjoyed the wet quiet, taking a pic now and then.


Not to get all slobbery or anything, but I gotta say that the postNAB Pour House gatherings have become my favorite weekly activity, with or without an actual hike.  And I'm not just saying that because AltiDude paid for a game of pool and Yukon for my drinks (thanks, fellas!), or because it represents my only chance to get out of the house each week.  embarassedlaugh.gif   Nope, I mean it.  I really enjoy hanging out with you all, listening to all the great stories, and sharing laughs.  Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.  See you next week!  smile.gif
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polarbear
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:05 pm   
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Nice collection of photos! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

--------------
...and a window that looks out on Corcovado...  Corcovado Hill
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Go Jo
of the lykkens



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
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Post Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:15 pm   
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We 'heart' you too EWB!
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BarbE
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Post Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:42 am   
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Yukon-excellent write-up and pictures.  up.gif

My summit pics are mostly blurry with my hands too cold to work the focus on the camera.
Another lesson learned. Never leave home without gloves, even in August.
Thanks ZeusDaddy for lending me yours.  smile.gif

By getting a 1/2 hour head start TNAB caught up with me near the Snow Lake outflow and set a brutal pace to the summit.

There was just enough time to add more layers and take a group shot.
The hike out dragged on forever. When are they ever gonna fix the rocks on that trail? rant.gif

Being hungry and tired and in such a hurry to get to the pub I missed the exit!  confused.gif Too much hassle to turn around.

Good company and yet another memorable TNAB!

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Nordic
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Post Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:42 am   
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Finally, it appears that this wretched summer is coming to an end; the weather is improving (i.e. getting colder) and I'll be able to hike again...

...Now, I just need to get back in shape after 2 months of inactivity... god, I hate, summer.....

How was the bug situation?
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Malachai Constant
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Post Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:58 pm   
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No bugs in the rain and fog wink.gif

--------------
"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Nordic
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Post Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:01 pm   
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Well, that's more or less expected (although I've had bugs swarming around me during a light drizzle on more than one occasion...)

What about the few short periods when it didn't rain?
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