Archive for April, 2010

Got Mail?

Posted on April 29th, 2010 by Jo  |  6 Comments »

yukon430sw photo used with permission, please respect all copyrights

Mailbox Peak Information:


Distance & Elevation: 5mi & 4,000ft elevation gain

NOAA Weather: click here

Driving directions to Mailbox Peak Trail Head
33.5 mi – about 36 mins
Seattle, WA 98144
1. Head east on I-90
4.0 mi
2. Take the exit onto I-90 E toward Issaquah/Spokane
26.2 mi
3. Take exit 34 for 468th Ave SE
0.4 mi
4. Turn left at 468th Ave SE
0.5 mi
5. Turn right at SE 144th St
492 ft
6. Slight right at SE Lake Dorothy Rd/SE Middle Fork Rd

Continue to follow SE Middle Fork Rd
2.0 mi
7. Slight left at SE Lake Dorothy Rd
0.3 mi
Mailbox Peak Trail head


2009 Lunatique Mailbox TR: click here
2009 TNAB Mailbox TR: click here
2008 TNAB Mailbox TR: click here

P to the 3

Posted on April 21st, 2010 by Jo  |  7 Comments »

moosefish photo used with permission, please respect all copyrights

Special Thanks to Guest Trip Reporter Zephyr:

Putrid Pete’s Peak

I was asked to do this by GoJo and ewb when we returned from the hike that night. But I was given an extended deadline since I am pretty busy in school these days.

As was explained in pre-trip news, the Forest Service Road 9031 is closed during the week through April due to a logging operation.  So in order to access the Ira Spring Trail we had to park just off I-90 at Exit 42, north side.  I arrived around 4:30 pm and was hiking by 4:50 pm. There is an old road there that is blocked.  Also a designated shooting area is just beyond the parking spot which has its own features.  I followed the directions from previous reports and walked past the road gate bearing west and looking for boot paths through the braided streams coming down from Mason Creek.  I crossed the big log over the creek and began going straight up towards the FS 9031 above me.  I also noticed quite a bit of orange flagging leading me on up the slope.  Being alone it was very encouraging to have the flags to help find the way.  Eventually I reached the road around 5:20 pm.

From here it was nice stroll to the trailhead and great rest from the steep climb up.  Soon I reached the turn in the main trail and knew from the directions to keep going west along a boot path.  Here the directions were a little off since it told me the first switchback was to continue west for about a mile.  I don’t have GPS, but it seemed more like a third or three quarters of a mile.  Here there was a dilemma since the trail forked and both forks were flagged.  Both were strong boot paths and according to the printed directions, I felt that I could justify going in either direction.  I wanted to go up, so chose the switchback up.  Luckily the trail switch backed again to the west and the distances correlated with the print outs of the Google Maps that was given.  Then I proceeded to climb up and up switch backing through the trees steeply.  Note, this can be a tricky route finding experience.  You need to pay close attention to the trail and the map.  Currently there are some orange  flags along the way.  It’s easy to continue off onto a smaller tributary trail.

The printed directions mentioned crossing below a large talus field.  I stayed to the right as described and continued on.  It’s been a couple of weeks since the hike, but I seem to recall a second talus slope.  Here I stopped for water and clothing adjustment.  I was getting pretty hot with the constant up climb.  At this point I heard a trekking pole clang against a rock in the far distance.  I  knew that other Pre-NAB’ers or TNAB’ers were going to be hot on my trail so I pushed on.  Soon, I was coming out of the tree line and onto scrubby slopes with bear grass, rocks and the occasional tree snag.  One problem I noticed right away was that the footing was terrible.  The soil was not stable, the rocks were loosely attached and crumbly, and the bear grass was slippery.  All this on a very steep slope.  Soon I was in snow and that made matters even worse.  I did not have any traction devices other than my trekking poles and boot lug soles.  As the snow deepened with the altitude, I began to reconsider my options.  Should I continue or press on to the summit.  This was one of those one step up, two steps slide back sort of situations.  I did not want to set any rocks loose, it was so easy to do and took a lot of concentration.  Suddenly a big dog was right beside me.  It looked like Mazzi, the short-haired German pointer /Weimaraner I believe.  There were two of these all of a sudden in the snow around me.  Below was Seattlehikertoo and doubledoggurunga and his Weims.  They were closing in fast.

By this time the sun was setting furiously and the wind was howling.  It got so cold my eyes watered and I was wishing I had brought goggles.  We debated the merits of going further in the conditions, but it’s hard to stop the movement up after you once start up the trail for this gang.  Everyone just climbed as carefully as possible in the loose, crumbly rock.  Soon Zeusdaddy was at hand and Moosefish right after. Jeff and four-legged Mazzy appeared.  Everyone focused on the summit ahead on the ridge.

The views had started to open up and we could see easily across the I-90 corridor to McClellan Butte, and further south Mt Rainier floated serenely above the clouds.  The sun was setting just behind Defiance Ridge in the direction of Mailbox Peak.  To the east was Mt Defiance and Bandera Mountain.

The summit was now in sight and under full assault from the charging TNAB’ers.  I hurried along and joined the group as everyone dug into their packs for jackets, hats, gloves and other articles.  The temperature was dropping rapidly.  The summit was rather cramped and dropped straight down on the north side.  You could look down into Spider Lake and Thompson Lake, both frozen as I recall.  Someone dug out the register and we took turns signing the roster.  By this time Wxman and GQHiker were hanging with us.  Moosefish had us move down to a flatter spot below the summit for a group photo. He set up a gorilla pod and captured a really nice photo.  Shortly thereafter a few more folks began to appear on the summit or just below.  Omega and Chris did a quick summit tag and we all started heading down as the sky darkened.  We soon ran into GoJo and ewb just a few hundred yards down slope.  (Earlier start next time guys….)  😉

Then the fun began.  This steep rocky, brushy slope was very tricky in the dark.  We waited at intervals to make sure we were all together in the dark.  Once the folks in the lead took a wrong turn at a switchback and had to climb back up a bit to rejoin us.  But for the most part we came down without incident. Once we arrived at the Ira Spring trailhead and parking area, we had to walk a ways down the road and find the place to follow the creek back to the parking area on I-90.  There were some flags in the trees to help.  Take note, this part of the trek is a little sketchy.  The drop off is steep and there is a lot of litter and debris from the road piled up under the trees.  Seattlehikertoo stepped on a piece of plywood that became a slippery trap and threw his knee into a boulder.  Ouch!  Use caution here.  Going down the stream bed through the trees, flotsam and jetsam was interesting.  We kept looking for the boot paths and occasional flags to point the way.  Eventually we arrived at the parking area en masse about 11 pm.

Many folks were tired, and only a few opted to go to the Pour House.   As tired as I was, I decided to join the crew and I am glad I did.  Something about getting hot food and the opportunity to discuss the events really helped rest me up for the long drive home.  It was a small group, Zeusdaddy, GoJo, ewb, Wxman, Omega, Chris and myself.  GoJo talked some folks out of a large table in the back and we proceeded to enjoy the rest of the night.  Our server Kim was amazing in her timely service and quick attention to our needs.  It took a full day to recover and my quads were  sore until Monday, but I had a terrific time.  See you on the trail.  ~~zephyr~~

Putrid Pete’s Peak Information:


Special Notice: This week’s hike will include substantial bushwhacking and climbing on talus field boulders. With the Ira Spring TH inaccessible due to logging on the access roads, we’ll need to do an extra bushwhack up from Exit 42 Tinkham. The last 1000′ elevation up the open ridge line will be an area with loose surface rock that can tumble down so everyone needs to be cautious. We will aim for a 530pm meet at the Exit with leaving time at 545pm sharp due to the extra 600′ elevation bushwhack up to the road.

Generalized description of intended route: get to the Mason Lake TH, follow it for couple hundred yards until it makes the big bend back to the right. Go straight through the corner on a boot path.  Continue heading west for awhile, maybe 1 mile?  Get near stream flow and the boot path turns back up to the right/east away from it.  Come to a large talus field – go across/below it to the right of it, not up to the left of it.  You want to get east of it, then the trail kind of disappears as you need to go STRAIGHT UP the ridge line to the summit.

Distance & Elevation: 6 miles round trip approx 3,100 ft gain

NOAA Weather Forecast for Putrid Pete’s Peak: click here

Google Driving Directions:

With the Ira Spring TH inaccessible due to logging on the access roads, we’ll need to do an extra bushwhack up from Exit 42 Tinkham.

2009 Putrid Pete’s Peak TR
2008 Putrid Pete’s Peak TR

TNAB on the Tusk

Posted on April 15th, 2010 by Jo  |  7 Comments »

DSD_8557 Summit crew
yukon430sw photos used with permission, please respect all copyrights
DSD_8559 Sun's work is done so Moon takes over

Special Thanks to Guest Trip Reporter Zeusdaddy:

trip report coming soon, please check back.

Tusk O’Granite (West Granite Mt) Information:


Distance & Elevation: 6.6 miles round trip approx 3600 ft gain

NOAA Weather Forecast for Tusk O’Granite: click here

Google Driving Directions from Seattle to Talapus Trailhead

Changing It Up

Posted on April 8th, 2010 by Jo  |  6 Comments »

DSD_8389 - Group shot of most of the attendees near the turnaround spot
yukon430sw photo used with permission, please respect all copyrights

Special Thanks to Guest Trip Reporter Yukon222:

Hall Monitor Ridge

With two of the prime access roads (Tinkham and Ira Spring/Mason Lake) off the I-90 corridor west of the Pass still closed for logging operations, possible options for TNAB night ops are limited.  So what to do?  Why go outside the “box” and start venturing forth into new territory, of course!  And so after several email exchanges, a visit to the Change Creek area south of the famous Exit 38 climbing area was picked.  Naturally, in this Spring of Inconveniences, Mother Nature decided to drop some last minute snow and graupel on the roads and managed to deter a few of the TNAB members short of the trailhead.

After gearing up in the large parking area and watching a couple of large 4×4 off road capable rigs goosing up and down the slippery road, TNAB headed up the connector trail next to Change Creek to reach the Iron Horse railroad grade.  A few inches of fresh snow coated the high trestle; certainly glad there is 4’ high cyclone fences on each side – long, long drop to the creek far below!

We quickly reached the turnoff and ascended the steep, but beautifully switch backed, trail.  Snow depth steadily increased although the snow consisted of a mix of old snow, fresh snow, graupel, etc.  Passed by the right turn that takes one back down into Change Creek basin and eventually over to the Great Wall trail/East Mt Washington (aka Change Peak) – instead we broke left and up onto the ridge spine.  A quick detour and we were up on Hall Point view point.  Compact summit area, but prime location and better weather conditions would make this a worthy destination by itself.

But we had plenty of time left, so we continued up the ridgeline as it gradually narrowed in width.  Booting thru the snow, we were pleased to find the travel mostly brush-free.  Sure, there were a few spots where we had to duck beneath short trees or maneuver around rock outcroppings.  The snow deepened to thigh deep in many spots as “base” doesn’t exist in this location in the mountains after such a sparse snow year.

After we climbed up a steep talus slope (a bit icy as your boots searched for firm purchase on the rocks beneath the snow) to regain the ridgeline, a few stopped to put on snowshoes while the remainder pushed on in boots.  Trading off the trail breaking efforts, we made good progress up the ridgeline.  Eventually, the ridgeline was blocked by a short Class 3 rocky section covered with slick ice and snow (shouldn’t be a problem detouring around it on the east side; just have to temporarily sacrifice 50’-100’ elevation).

Since the daylight was rapidly fading away, we decided to call our efforts to 3400’ elevation on Hall Monitor Ridge good enough.  Most of the folks gathered around for a quick group “summit” picture and we started back down.  Fun to watch the glowing headlights in the darkness on I-90 below twist their way down from the Pass.  The weather, forecasted to be horrible, remained quite tolerable with just an intermittent blast or two of wind.  We actually saw some stars in the clearing skies.  No problem descending the steep trail (kudos again to the trail designer/constructor) in the darkness.  Refreshments at the PH capped off the evening.

Change Peak Information:


Distance & Elevation: ? miles round trip approx ? ft gain

NOAA Weather Forecast for Change Creek: click here

Google Driving Directions from Seattle to

April Fools on Fuller

Posted on April 1st, 2010 by Jo  |  2 Comments »

atmyapple photo used with permission, please respect all copyrights

Fuller Mt Information:


Distance & Elevation: 3.6 miles round trip approx 900 ft gain

NOAA Weather Forecast for Fuller Mt: click here

Google Driving Directions from Seattle to Spur 10 Gate Road:

34.7 mi – about 52 mins (Via N Bend Blvd S/Bendigo Blvd S/WA-202428th Ave SE)

I-90 E
1. Head east on I-90 E
25.6 mi
2. Take exit 31 for WA-202 toward N Bend
0.3 mi
3. Turn left at N Bend Blvd S/Bendigo Blvd S/WA-202

Continue to follow Bendigo Blvd S/WA-202
0.8 mi
4. Turn right at W 3rd St
0.1 mi
5. Turn left at Ballarat Ave N
0.5 mi
6. Slight right at SE 108th St/NE 12th St
0.5 mi
7. Slight left at 428th Ave SE
1.8 mi
8. Continue on N Fork Rd SE
1.1 mi
9. Slight left to stay on N Fork Rd SE
1.4 mi
10. Continue on NFD 5700 Rd
2.5 mi
Spur 10 Gate Rd

fuller nb route

2009 Fuller Mt Trip Report
2008 Fuller Mt Trip Report