Sunset Found

West Bandera Summit Shot
Zeusdaddy photo used with permission, please respect all copyrights

Special Thanks to Guest Trip Reporter GQ Hiker Boy:

Where else would one rather be on one of the first glorious sunny Thursday evenings in recent memory? If you a TNABer, then there would be no better place to soak in the sun, sunset, and snowcapped peak views than on the summit of West Bandera.

The first bit of luck was the warm and sunny weather. The second was a clear and unobstructed driving trek to the Ira Spring trailhead. No road washouts this year ensured that we would have plenty of time to reach the snow laden summit 3.3 miles away with an elevation gain of 3,000 ft.

The usual group of TNAB’ers set out on a dry trail and passed the roar of Mason Creek swollen with the day’s snowmelt. We hit the snow pack at the fork in the trail at 2,800 ft where the trek gets notably steeper. Some of the group donned snowshoes once through the switchbacks and after clearing the trees while others held out until nearing the ridge so that they could kick boot steps and follow the stairway up the west slope. One TNABer made it to the summit without snowshoes following the compact trail of those in front of him.

The summit was every bit inspirational with blue skies, a golden sunset, and clear views of the Cascade backbone and Mt Rainer. We snapped photos, ate snacks, and drank plenty of fluids while enjoying the sun and great company. Although we had plenty of time to enjoy the sun, we only felt compelled to leave when the temperature began to drop rapidly at sunset.

One the way down, we only deviated slightly from the newly packed upward trail to punch boot prints in the thinly ice-crusted snowpack on the way down off of the ridge.

With such a warm day, the third bit of luck was that the snowpack was firm enough that we encountered no avalanche danger. A few of the gang did the classic TNAB butt luge (aka, the GQ “rump-n-bump”) making a shallow, snowy flow down the west slope.

Another TNAB adventure, another spectacular evening mountain summit experience!

Trail details, NOAA weather, driving directions, maps and past trip reports can be found here: West Bandera Info

10 Responses to “Sunset Found”

  1. zephyr says on :

    Road closure on I-90 during the week may have some effect on travel Thursday evening. Plan accordingly.
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015027956_traffic12m.html

  2. ewb says on :

    Thanks for the heads-up, Z!

  3. Unnu says on :

    I’m guessing that snowshoes are still likely to be fashionable footwear this evening?

  4. ewb says on :

    Most likely. We had a couple of booters on Tusk O’Granite last week, but only one made the summit, and it was extra rough on them heading down. So, I’m bringing mine just to be sure.

  5. ewb says on :

    NWAC update: “Cooler weather with possible light showers but also some sun or sun effects should be seen on Thursday and Friday. The lack of precipitation and cooler temperatures should help limit the threat of avalanches and cause more normal spring conditions. But sun or sun effects may also still cause damp or wet surface snow. Remember that increasing damp or wet surface snow of more than a few inches and natural or triggered snowballing are good signs of increasing avalanche danger.”

    Wet slab slides are a possibility on tonight’s steep faces, and the ridge is likely one giant cornice. Avoid terrain traps, and be mindful of the conditions and your own comfort level. Remember the TNAB motto: “Only YOU are in charge of YOU, so please take the best care of YOU possible.”

  6. Mal Con says on :

    Hey hope you all have a good time. Found another group here OMBA that has technical MTB rides every Thursday night (no big hills here. Managed to get nice and sweaty and muddy after I fell off a bridge a good time was had by all.

  7. ewb says on :

    Hi MC! Missed you and Mrs MC tonight – we got our first sunset of the year. Beautiful up there this evening, finally! Lots and lots of snow, though. Hope your new OMBA friends enjoy a post-ride drink at your CA PH equiv. Be safe!

  8. zephyr says on :

    That’s actually a pretty awesome photo! Such a fun descent, sliding and plunge-stepping down that steep, deep snowy slope. ~z

  9. yukon222 says on :

    Here’s a link to the set of pictures I took:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8246712@N03/sets/72157626718335068/with/5718711523/

  10. ewb says on :

    Nice report, GQH! Thanks for writing it up!