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geosean

[TR] Three Fingers Lookout - Meadow Mountain Trail 01/26/2019

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Trip: Three Fingers Lookout - Meadow Mountain Trail

Trip Date: 01/26/2019

Trip Report:

Me and Fred took advantage of the prolonged crappy skiing to do some mountaineering for a change. We had thought about biking the closed road to the summer trail, but it didn't look that much shorter and I remembered the lower portion of the trail as being pretty crappy from years ago when I did it. With the high snow line it seemed like a good choice... not too sure now. 

We shouldered our snowshoes and walked from the road closure to 3900' on the Meadow Mountain Trail before we needed to put on snowshoes. The abandoned trail was in great shape, better than some maintained trails I've been on. 

The snow was pretty soft in the old growth and icy in clearings, so side-hilling was tough with snowshoes on, but we toiled upward. The route it turns out is circuitous in three dimensions... up and down, side to side, all around the map we went, mostly upward. At Saddle Lake we were astonished to learn it was 1 pm. Thoughts of camping early flashed through my mind - and oh yeah, I forgot a pot for the stove, so anywhere but the lookout means no tea, coffee, or mountain house dinners. Bummer. We assumed there would be some kind of pot at the lookout... If we can get in. 

The north side traverse was thought-provoking on firm sun crust. No-fall terrain for sure. 

We missed most of the sunset traversing on the north side. At dark we were within 600' of the summit. The rimed rocks of the summit area threw perspective out the window in the headlamp's beam. We seemed to fly upon rocks that seconds earlier appeared hundreds of feet above. It would have been eerie if it hadn't been for the tiredness and the ever-present thoughts of what if. What if we can't get in? What if there is no pot? We had watered up so there was little chance of death by thirst, but it would have been decidedly unpleasant.

We dug for an hour and a half through multiple hard ice layers interspersed with sugary snow. It was hard work, and we didn't really know where we were digging. For future reference, the door is on the far lookers left of the building, not near the middle. In short, we figured it out, got in, and spent a lovely night lying about in luxury. 

Thanks to all the volunteers that keep this place together. Sadly one of the window panes in the door was broken out which let in a bunch of snow that piled behind the door. This made our entry tricky. We removed all the snow, but it will just come back. We couldn't figure out a way to block up the window with the supplies we had. If you go there take a bunch of duct tape or something. 

The hike out was uneventful, though footsore with wet socks. Next time I'll try the shortcut listed in the comments here:

 

Fred checking out a huge log across the road: 

20190126_091104.thumb.jpg.91535ee8d2009ea3cb9ce5a8ceed7539.jpg

 

Our entry into the lookout:

IMG_2729.thumb.jpg.0b38811fb0676a503c0e6218a23e928c.jpg

 

The view from the front door in the morning, photo by Fred:

IMG_2725.thumb.jpg.3134d560b249f3bd2696c0de1d37fd78.jpg

 

Tricky downclimbing for the first steps of the day, photo by Fred:

IMG_2736.thumb.jpg.506fbb3301ed9f7f6959e88b033d1c7c.jpg

 

Looking back at the summit from Tim Can Pass in the morning. The lookout is on the middle peak in the photo:

20190127_103215.thumb.jpg.12fde30753e2544c55f7310c32d00bdc.jpg

 

We hiked down into the sea of clouds we saw from the summit:

20190127_153040.thumb.jpg.abd593f4a7d8d295b616ca007ce9358a.jpg

Gear Notes:
Axe, crampons, snowshoes.

Approach Notes:
Meadow Mountain Trail from road closure.
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had the same "what if" fears years ago while toiling up  lookout mtn - sure do love this lookouts, but yer fucked if you don't make it or can't get it :)

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that is great!  digging for 1.5 hours to find a door adds flavor to the trip!

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