Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

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VanMarmot
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Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

Post by VanMarmot » January 31st, 2009, 1:42 pm

Last week Table was shrouded in clouds and buffeted by moderate winds, so I hiked Hamiltion instead. Friday I took another shot at Table. The drive along I-84 was all fog until Rooster Rock when things suddenly cleared completely into a wonderful sunny day.

From Bonneville Hot Springs (who we have to all thank for permitting a safe place to park), I took the trail that starts to the left of the water tanks at the top of the hill to Carpenter Lake, for a first glimpse of Table.
Table Mtn from Carpenter Lk.JPG
From there, I followed the road, a use trail, and part of the PCT to the new kiosk at the base of the eastern ridge trail. There was no significant snow or ice on the trail from the car to this point.
East Kiosk.JPG
Snow appeared, in various depths and consistencies (from mush to near ice), about 100 feet up the eastern ridge trail, and continued to the summit.
East Ridge Trail.JPG
I heard some very loud cracking, crashing sounds as I climbed toward the saddle. Once the main face of Table came into view, I could see that these sounds were due to large chunks of ice breaking off the face as they were heated by the sun. Rocks were also coming loose with the ice and cascading down to the talus slopes below.
Face of Table.JPG
You get a good view of the west ridge from this saddle - the snow is thin enough to just highlight a fairly elaborate network of trails coming down (or up) the ridge.
West Ridge.JPG
From the saddle, I tried to follow the "new" trail to the west but lost it in deeper snow in the ravines - it needs to be better marked if we're expected to follow it in winter. So, I kicked steps directly up to the summit, where there were expansive views in all directions, particularly of Hood, Adams, and Rainier (on the horizon just to the right of the pine tree).
Hood from Table summit.JPG
Adams and Rainier.JPG
I saw a few faint tracks on the way up (a few more on the way down) but the snow on the summit ridge was completely untracked (by people at least).
Summit ridge.JPG
There was moderately deep snow on the way down from the top to just below the trees. From there (on the open talus slopes) snow was much patchier, but did fill in the trail a lot. The descent was slower going than usual owing to a mix of loose talus + wet, soft snow. There's a new kiosk at the base the west ridge trail and the PCT from there to the eastern kiosk is still covered with packed snow. The spa seemed busy, but there was no one else on the trail the whole day.

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weathercrazy
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Re: Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

Post by weathercrazy » January 31st, 2009, 3:25 pm

I've done Table twice, but both from the North Bonneville TH.

I did it once in December and once in June. I actually found it easier in December because there were less bugs to deal with! The last part of that trail is just brutal! Of course, it's worth it though.

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Re: Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

Post by [email protected] » January 31st, 2009, 5:26 pm

Thanks so much for posting the report on Table Mnt. Seems like a very little amount of snow to contend with overall - at leaset in comparison with last year's huge amounts. Might make some of the Spring conditioning hikes a little easier. Wonderful pictures too but then again, the view from the top of Table is one of the best in the Gorge. Tom

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VanMarmot
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Re: Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

Post by VanMarmot » February 2nd, 2009, 7:33 am

weathercrazy wrote:I've done Table twice, but both from the North Bonneville TH.

I did it once in December and once in June. I actually found it easier in December because there were less bugs to deal with! The last part of that trail is just brutal! Of course, it's worth it though.

You've certainly done Table the heroic way! I'd reallyrecommend trying it from the hot springs parking lot. The last bit is still brutal but then you've only hiked 3 miles to get there from the parking lot.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

Post by VanMarmot » February 2nd, 2009, 7:36 am

[email protected] wrote:Thanks so much for posting the report on Table Mnt. Seems like a very little amount of snow to contend with overall - at leaset in comparison with last year's huge amounts. Might make some of the Spring conditioning hikes a little easier. Wonderful pictures too but then again, the view from the top of Table is one of the best in the Gorge. Tom
Thanks Tom! I did it in Feb '08 and I think the amount & depth of snow on the summit ridge was about the same this year. However, last year the climb up from the saddle was fairly deep solid snow. This year is was of poorer consistency and thickness and the willows were sticking through all over and making keeping a steady pace difficult. Still, on a clear day like last Friday, it is a great view!

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Re: Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

Post by Water » February 3rd, 2009, 9:29 am

VanMarmot,

Thanks for your steps in the snow starting from the kiosk on up up, some of those were real helpful yesterday. Looks like you had as much fun on the way down that as I did in that section right between the kiosk and when you get atop the first open rock-outcropping, we're you crouched or doing a full stand and slide?

I followed your tracks into the notch between the east/west flanks where the large open snow fields were, then lost them, unsure of where you kicked steps up to the top at. Saw that there were some tracks going along the 'abandoned' trail - but those petered out as well. Having never been up there before and being more cautious than adventurous, I opted for lunch on the saddle and watching and listening to some awesome rock and ice chunks falling--but would love to get at it another time either with some gps waypoints to the top or clearer trail, etc.
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Re: Table Mtn 30-Jan-09

Post by J_W_Speed » February 5th, 2009, 1:06 pm

VM, I just missed ya as I went up (same route) the 31st, early AM. Those must have been your tracks I followed, but were hard ice that morning. I failed to summit, but there were no views anyway. I ran out of time, besides feeling pretty "chickenish" about one step RIGHT before the final pitch, along the ridge, just before the top. I was in trail runners and kicking steps was impossible. I had to chop steps with my axe.

My report will be up soon @ http://www.johnathanwhite.com, and thank you so much for posting this trip as you guys are an inspiration!!
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