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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostFri Oct 16, 2020 8:52 pm 
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I scheduled the 10th through the 14th off months ago for a multi day larch trip.  I missed guessed both the larch peak time frame and the best weather window.  The weather was horrible and I couldn't even find two day trip worth doing given the conditions.  Monday looked good so I headed out for a day trip.  I had Bootjack and Highchair rolling around in the back of my mind for the last few years and decided on that as my goal for the day.  It had snowed in the mountains the last couple days so I packed up and headed out, prepared for the conditions.  The road to the trailhead was interesting with foggy mountain views, a rainbow, fall colors, and some deer crossing the road.  I got to the empty trailhead and started hiking around 9am.

Icicle Ridge
Icicle Ridge
Rainbow
Rainbow
Deer crossing the road
Deer crossing the road

The foliage along the trail was wet, and I was not stoked about it.  Fortunately after a few hundred vertical feet the forest opened up and I didn't get totally soaked, but a bit wet for sure.  I made note of a stream about 1000 ft up which I was grateful for later.  Around 4200 ft snow patches started and snow was continuous by 5000 ft.  Three inches down low, but six inches higher up.  I could still see where the trail went, and as I ascended fog and clouds were in the process of clearing which provided a fun moody ambiance.

Fall colors
Fall colors
Staring out on the trail
Staring out on the trail
Lower section of trail
Lower section of trail
Snow begins
Snow begins
Trail to Bootjack
Trail to Bootjack
Pillows of snow
Pillows of snow
Nearing Bootjack's summit
Nearing Bootjack's summit
Above the surface (for now)
Above the surface (for now)
Bootjack Summit clearing of clouds
Bootjack Summit clearing of clouds

I was kinda depressed about not being able to do a mulit day trip, and was feeling generally unmotivated as I neared the summit of Bootjack and considered the option of heading home and skipping Highchair.  As I neared the summit I found my motivation.  My, what is THAT beautiful thing out yonder?  A fresh coat of snow, larch and forested slopes on either side of a beautiful ridgeline, and a perfect cap of clouds overhead it was absolutely goegeous!  When I looked at my map and found out that it was Highchair, I knew I was gonna have to go climb it.

Oooooo O_o What is THAT?!
Oooooo O_o What is THAT?!
Highchair!
Highchair!
A picture of snow on a rock
A picture of snow on a rock
Through the Window
Through the Window

I didn't stay on Bootjack too long, but I did have some food and admired the views before heading off for Highchair.  It looked so far away, I knew it was going to take a couple hours to get there.  I wanted to stay on the ridge the whole way but it was windy and cold up there so I ended up traversing along the east side most of the time which kind of sucked.  It was basically boulder hopping on boulders covered in several inches of snow and it was slow and tedious.  I was very grateful to have boots with good traction when wet.  Snow was deep enough that I eventually put on gaiters which I was super glad I brought.  I had microspikes too but never even considered using them.  Views were great along the route with somewhat thin mixed larch and evergreen forest and several prominent peaks I have had the pleasure of standing atop in previous years.  As the ridge went on I decided to drop down a bit into a more mellow basin which I should have done to begin with.  From there it was easier travel to the summit, 2:20 from Bootjack at a slow tedious pace.

Starting out on the ridge to Highchair
Starting out on the ridge to Highchair
On the ridge to Highchair
On the ridge to Highchair
A wee bitty larch
A wee bitty larch
Along the ridge
Along the ridge
Tarn Meadow, Eightmile, Jack Ridge, Stuart Beyond
Tarn Meadow, Eightmile, Jack Ridge, Stuart Beyond
A view from a traverse
A view from a traverse
Stuart, Ingalls, and Harding
Stuart, Ingalls, and Harding
Harding
Harding
That's a big larch!
That's a big larch!
Stuart, framed
Stuart, framed

The views from Highchair were dramatically better than Bootjack and I was glad I made the trip!  The Cradle in particular looked appealing and has jumped several spots on my to do list as a result.  Great 360 views all around, especially with everything covered in a fresh coat of snow!  Pretty amazing up there, I think I stayed for an hour before heading back.

Near the summit of Highchair
Near the summit of Highchair
The Cradle!
The Cradle!
Looking SE from Highchair
Looking SE from Highchair
Bootjack from Highchair
Bootjack from Highchair
Highchair Mountain Summit Pano
Highchair Mountain Summit Pano
The Cradle from Highchair Mountain
The Cradle from Highchair Mountain
Snowy terrain
Snowy terrain

On the way back I dropped straight down to the basin I had seen on the way it.  It was much better travel and I paused here and there to investigate this and that and relish in the mountain experience as I made my way back to Bootjack.  As I arrived back at Bootjack I noted it was a little over two hours until sunset.  Just enough time to get back to the car before dark, or... hang out until sunset!

Down to the meadow, Bootjack beyond
Down to the meadow, Bootjack beyond
Cashmere
Cashmere
Large Larch
Large Larch
Tarn
Tarn
Light and Shadow
Light and Shadow
Meadow
Meadow
Trees
Trees

I decided to hang out until sunset.  I found a sloped rock that was dry and wasn't totally uncomfortable and settled down for a nap.  I poked around a bit and took some pictures and just enjoyed being on a mountain top.  Life is better in the alpine.  Sunset was cool, and as the sun ducked behind some clouds near the horizon I decided it was time to depart.

Bootjack Shadow
Bootjack Shadow
Golden Hour
Golden Hour
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset from the summit
Sunset from the summit
Stuart
Stuart
Cashmere
Cashmere


Blue hour was fun to enjoy on the way down and soon it was headlamp time.  The trail was easy to follow on the way down.  I ran out of water and stopped at that spring I remembered on the way up, the only running water on the trip.  Man, it was delicious too!  Some of the best mountain water I've had all year.  The drive home absolutely sucked.  I was super tired and had to stop several times for cat naps, I hate feeling like that.  These sunset hikes just aren't my thing.  I'm a sunrise guy for sure.  All in all it was another great day in the mountains!

Afterburn colors
Afterburn colors
Good Night Mountains
Good Night Mountains
Hiking out at Blue Hour
Hiking out at Blue Hour

11 miles 5600 ft gain 11 hours (several hours of non moving time)
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RossJames
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Joined: 27 Apr 2020
Posts: 20 | TRs
Location: Kennewick, WA
RossJames
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PostFri Oct 16, 2020 8:59 pm 
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Monday was a pretty good weather window. Glad you got to spend it out! Looking forward to getting out with you again someday soon
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IanB
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Joined: 21 Jul 2010
Posts: 990 | TRs
Location: gone whuljin'
IanB
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PostFri Oct 16, 2020 9:38 pm 
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What a great looking trip!

I love that feeling when the low-stoke is rewarded with a big payoff.

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"Forget gaining a little knowledge about a lot and strive to learn a lot about a little."    - Harvey Manning
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