Changing It Up

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

6 Responses to “Changing It Up”

  1. Malachai says on :

    I do not want to be Debbie Downer but there is a really nasty forecast for Thursday with 50 mph winds on western ridge and 1-2′ of new snow and a high avy danger.

  2. Jo says on :

    You’re not the only one with concerns, several folks have sent links of doom our way this week. We’ll keep an eye on it and see if an alternate trip or a bye week are in order.

  3. yukon222 says on :

    Looking at the latest pinpoint forecast from National Weather Service (updated by them at 4:46pm), they are calling for 4″ to 8″ snow tomorrow with winds 11mph to 20mph. Thursday night 2″ to 4″ with winds 13mph to 18mph. Might be a bit more snow as their pinpoint forecast is for a slightly lower altitude than the peak we are aiming for. But it is representative for a lot of the possible ridge line. I wouldn’t mind the foot of snow. But winds above 25mph won’t be too pleasant.

  4. Erik says on :

    I am assuming that the hike is still on.

  5. yukon says on :

    I am going.

  6. 'wxman' says on :

    Looks like wind probably only going to be an issue at the very top. PSCZ will be overhead at the start with hail & rain/wet snow but with that steep section at start we’ll quickly transition to snow. As far as avy concerns go, only the very bottom portion is evidently ‘prone’ terrain far as I can tell, and snow below 2000′ prob won’t be very slide prone. See you out there.