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Archive for the ‘Lookout’ Category

Three Fingers view from Tin Can Gap Siew Moi, Norm and I volunteered for a reconnaissance tour up to Three Fingers Lookout to assess snow damage it has sustained from last winter. This September, Everett Mountaineers will organize a work party to repair and maintain the lookout.
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Sunset on Mt. Pilchuck
Yet another Pilchuck work party, this time to scrape, prime and paint catwalk railings, shutters and shutter supports. Lisa and I joined Norm from the Everett Mountaineers. Plan was to hike in early Wed morning, work all day and stay overnight and for Lisa and me to hike out in early Thu morning.
The previous work party had already primed some of the supports and shutters. We lowered the east and west shutters and then scraped the railing, with the spontaneous and friendly help of another hiking couple.
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Everett Mountaineers maintain the Pilchuck Lookout and together with Craig from MSClimb, they organized a work party to carry up material and do some emergency repair on the lookout’s cat walk, railing and cable stays.
Sat had a great turnout of hikers (more than 20 people) carrying tools and materials up to the lookout (thank god the National Guard already flew up the lumber, would have been clumsy to carry 2x8s on a pack…). Got to the TH by ~8:30, hiked up with Arthur from the Everett Mountaineers, with ~25lbs of tools. Trail was in much better shape than 3 weeks ago, but still large snowfields above ~4500ft. Arthur and I spent some time creating cairns to guide the following hikers across the snow fields.
I stayed up at the lookout for 6-7 hours to repair the currently closed catwalk around the lookout: first I ripped up a good part of the porch decking and replaced some of the rotten 2×8 joists, placed fresh vertical posts so that the porch won’t bounce anymore and rebuilt the broken railing (it got crushed by the snow load). Fun to balance out on the rock, above some nice verticals, and swing saw and hammer. It was a pleasure to remove the “emergency closure” sign at the end of the day!
On Sat the group was a bit short of crafty people, the other 3-4 “worker bees” redid the steel cables that anchor the lookout to the rock and started replacing some of the broken glass.

Stats:

Distance: 6mi / 9.6km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  2224ft / 667m
High point: 5324ft / 1597m
Hiking time: 1:30 in up, 50min down
Weather: sunny, 70 at TH

Hikers:
David

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Yet another winter trip (but, isn’t it July…?):
Mt Pilchuck’s forest service road to the trailhead had just been cleared from snow less than 2 weeks ago and a snowy trail greeted me right at the trailhead. Most tracks lead directly up the much steeper direttisima (winter trail?), but I wanted to follow the regular trail, more to the west. With some search and bushwhacking (sure glad I had map and GPS with me…) After some searching I did find the regular trail leading up through wonderful old-growth forest. Above the tree line, the tracks in the snow got very thin again but a quarter mile of traverse merged me into the more popular winter trail. Sure glad I had my ice ax with me today. Passed some skiers and happily made the scramble all the way to the lookout. My optimistic hope that the sun would burn away the clouds didn’t materialize, so I could only guess and take very few peeks at what the view from the former forest service fire watch tower could be like.
Descend was really quick and great exercise for my thigh muscles: lots of glissading, and snow walking with big strides. Ice ax recommended, though.
Did I mention I love driving up & down lonely gravel forest roads with my 4×4? Flying over potholes is more fun than driving through them 🙂

After some searching and bushwhacking, I finally found the regular trail
Resting my eyes on some green and stoney grey before continuing climbing on another snow field
Sure wished I had thought of bringing my skies as the climbers below
No, the camera is straight up; the trees are still leaning from the snow load they just recently shed
Finally, the forest service lookout peeks between the huge boulders

Stats:

Distance: 6mi / 9.6km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  2224ft / 667m
High point: 5324ft / 1597m
Hiking time: 1:10hr up, 40min down
Weather: cloudy, foggy 55 at TH

Hikers:
David

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