Nasty weather today but we were determined (OSAT). We made use of the super-secret goat trail that veers off to the left at 3000 feet on the Mason lake trail. This route proved to be more direct. Not much of a view at the top.
Looking for a trifecta, of peaks that is. Well, I got two. Only one other car in the lot at 8:00 am. Left the TH and stayed straight at the big bend in the road/trail. Sure enough, good trail takes off west. Eventually it started up. This ‘way trail’ is as built and maintained as they come. About 3500’ the party ended. After battling some bushes, I crossed the bottom of a talus slope. See another good trail heading east and down, wonder where it came from, and then follow pink flagging up. More sketchy path across another talus field. Break out of the trees and about 4500’ the path is gone for good. Just pick your way mostly straight up. The rib became more prominent, and it led directly to West Defiance. I was now in heavy clouds again. A cool mist could not muffle the sound of many gunshots from the valley below. As I followed the ridge east, the fog lifted. Slippery granite was a new experience for me. I dropped 500’ to Defiance Pass and then headed up Mt Defiance west side. There are many times when the path is not apparent, but if you can read a map, the way is obvious. I topped out in time for more mist. It was only wet on the peaks. Due to time constraints, Bandera was not to be. Some well booted snow and mud on the way down to Mason Lake. I thought about taking the old Mason Creek trail down. Instead, I checked the new trail, just to see what it was like. Long, hard and meandering. I don’t know if it will ever recover from all the trekking pole wounds it has. The upper part of Bandera does not appear to have been upgraded. These three go well together, with the bonus of starting and ending at the same place.
Loop: 9 miles, cumulative gain 4000’, five hours car to car. Add 800’,1 mile, and one hour to include Bandera.
Too cloudy for the view but a fun hike all the same. Nice wildflowers on top. I summited Bandera later in the afternoon which is the next mountain over.
Cloudy day, not much of a view, but a great early season conditioner and a wonderful hike!
An excellent day for climbing in the Cascades! Weather was cool and dry. Left the trailhead at 7:50, arriving at the summit 2:45 later. Took the old trail up. It is in pretty good shape, with a number of logs across the trail. A nice interesting hike in the woods. The last leg up to the summit is not well marked, and it is easy to turn off the trail too soon. Wait until you reach a distinct vertical ridge before turning right. No snow to speak of. Returned on the new trail, and was tempted to scoot up to Bandera. Great weather, great company, okay views.