Tank Lakes Night Photography and Autumn Light

Page Type
Trip Report
Washington, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Oct 10, 2009
Summer, Fall
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Tank Lakes Night Photography and Autumn Light
Created On: Oct 12, 2009
Last Edited On: Sep 14, 2013

(Trip report for Oct 10-11, 2009)


My mom and I hiked up to Tank Lakes to enjoy the autumn colors and beautiful October lighting. An arctic system had moved in bringing frigid winds and sub-freezing temperatures, but this created clear skies for some night photography and helped keep me awake at night to take photos. The following page gives several photos from our fun weekend overnight. Hiking with my mom is always a special and enjoyable experience.



The Lakes Then and Now

Some Panoramas I took

Tank Lakes in August 1982 (taken by my parents), in August 2006 (taken on a family backpacking trip), and in October 2009 (taken on this trip). The glaciers on Chimney and Overcoat have changed more than the trees have!

Getting There

Tank Lakes is in the Alpine Lakes wilderness. There is no maintained trail to Tank Lakes, but the lakes can be reached via easy cross-country from a few different directions. This area is often passed by parties doing variations of the (1) Alpine Lakes High Route, in which case the approach typically starts on the Lake Dorothy Trail off the Miller River Road off HWY 2 and comes up to Tank Lakes after Chetwood Lake and Iron Cap Pass. Two popular one-day approaches are (2) via Necklace Valley on the East Fork Foss River Trail off of the Foss River Road off of HWY 2 and (3) via the Dutch Miller Trail off of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road off I-90.

(More complete route details are given in my Feb 2010 trip report for Tank Lakes.)

Afternoon and Evening at the Lakes

(Click on images to enlarge)

A cold autumn view of Summit Chief, Chimney, and Overcoat across the valley with a fresh dusting of snow.
Another cold autumn view across the largest of the Tank Lakes.
Exploring the beautiful plateau. I love the autumn lighting.
Exploring the beautiful plateau.
Exploring the beautiful plateau.
Exploring the beautiful plateau.
Sunset over Iron Cap Mtn and our bivy sacs on the granite slabs.

Night Photography at the Lakes

(Click on images to enlarge)

Star trails and twilight above Chimney and Overcoat.
(6 min, f 10.0, ISO 100)
Colorful star trails above the bivy sacs, with a faint glow of the Milky Way.
(16 min, f 7.1, ISO 400)
Moonlight and star trails.
(7 min, f 8.0, ISO 400)
Moonlight and star trails.
(15 min, f 8.0, ISO 400)

Morning at the Lakes

(Click on images to enlarge)

Sunrise on Chimney and Overcoat from our camp.
Difficult to leave this place to go back to problem sets and text books....

Autumn colors and ice formations

(Click on images to enlarge)

A tunnel of brilliant leaves on the trail.
Cool ice formations.
Red hucklemberry leaves growing in a handcrack.
Finger-like ice formations.
4 trees.
More ice formations.
And more.
A shelter in Necklace Valley surrounded by autumn colors.
More autumn brilliance.
And more.

More on my website

This trip report is copied from my website, which has several other climbing trip reports and photographs from the North Cascades and elsewhere: http://www.stephabegg.com.



Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-4 of 4
mauri pelto

mauri pelto - Oct 12, 2009 7:05 am - Voted 10/10

chilly beauty

The biggest change I see in the first three pictures is the growth of the bedrock knob in the middle of the Overcoat Glacier. Nice repeats.


Redwic - Oct 12, 2009 8:30 am - Voted 10/10


Great job supplying the photos and report. This is a gorgeous area for outdoor enthusiasts.


StephAbegg - Oct 13, 2009 12:25 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Professional

Alec -
My dream is to write/photograph/adventure/teach/etc, so as soon as the opportunity comes up, I'll take it! That's my plan anyway! So thanks for the encouragement. There's enough engineers out there anyway....

Bryan K

Bryan K - Oct 19, 2009 6:46 pm - Hasn't voted

Great Photos

I went up there last year when the bugs must have been at their worst. What a beautiful area though and I enjoyed every minute of the trip. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

Viewing: 1-4 of 4