Gnarl Ridge & Elk Meadows 24-Oct-09

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VanMarmot
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Gnarl Ridge & Elk Meadows 24-Oct-09

Post by VanMarmot » October 25th, 2009, 4:52 pm

Saturday’s weather was near perfect for a hike up Gnarl Ridge and a big view of the east side of Mt. Hood. I started from the Clark Creek Sno-Park off Highway 35 and took the Clark Creek trail a mile up to the Elk Meadows trail. The Clark Creek Trail has suffered a lot of washouts and is in pretty poor shape (but not too hard to follow) for most of its length. How much washing-out has occurred is more obvious where the Clark Creek and Elk Meadows trail intersect.

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The Elk Meadows Trail was a highway by comparison and soon I was making an easy low-water crossing of Newton Creek on a considerably less fancy “bridge” than the one over Clark Creek.

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I by-passed Elk Meadows on the way up Gnarl Ridge and was soon rewarded with views of Adams to the north

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Jefferson and the Three Sisters to the south

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and Hood directly before me.

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Conditions on the ridge were near perfect – sunny and crisp, but with little wind (SO different from the times I’ve climbed Hood from the other side). The thousands of feet view down into Newton Creek was amazing.

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After lunch and many, many photos of the intricate tracings carved by the wind in the dead pines,

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I headed back to the trailhead via a tour around Elk Meadows, with a visit to the shelter

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and the classic view of the meadows framed by Mt. Hood.

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All in all, one of those truly memorable days on the trail. Next time I might consider skipping the Clark Creek trail in favor of the Elks Meadows trail the whole way and making the loop that has you crossing Newton Creek higher up on the Timberline Trail.

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weathercrazy
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Re: Gnarl Ridge & Elk Meadows 24-Oct-09

Post by weathercrazy » October 25th, 2009, 5:07 pm

Great pics...and it's amazing how much snow is left on the north side of the mountain vs. the south. Obviously it sits in the shade, but I haven't seen it so pronounced.

Yesterday was about the best fall day we have had so far with sunny skies, but cool temps.

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Splintercat
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Re: Gnarl Ridge & Elk Meadows 24-Oct-09

Post by Splintercat » October 25th, 2009, 9:02 pm

Thanks - nice report! I was thinking the same thing about the difference in snow level, since I was on the north side yesterday. I also saw a very cool cloud forming over the Newton-Clark Glacier after about 1:30 or 2:00 that would have been really photogenic, had I not been on the shoulder of Cooper Spur, looking straight into the sun... :( Did you happen to capture that?

Tom

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VanMarmot
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Re: Gnarl Ridge & Elk Meadows 24-Oct-09

Post by VanMarmot » October 26th, 2009, 6:55 am

Splintercat wrote:Thanks - nice report! I was thinking the same thing about the difference in snow level, since I was on the north side yesterday. I also saw a very cool cloud forming over the Newton-Clark Glacier after about 1:30 or 2:00 that would have been really photogenic, had I not been on the shoulder of Cooper Spur, looking straight into the sun... :( Did you happen to capture that?

Tom
I was descending into Newton Creek around 2-2:30 when I caught this view of the mountain with a cloud encroaching from the west. It would have been more impressive if the shot could have been taken higher up on the mountain.

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VM

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Splintercat
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Re: Gnarl Ridge & Elk Meadows 24-Oct-09

Post by Splintercat » October 26th, 2009, 7:29 am

Yep, that's the one. I passed a pair of hikers who were headed to Gnarl Ridge from Cloud Cap, so I suspect they had a nice view of this from up-close. BTW, I love your images from up on the ridge -- at this time of year, the high line of new snow with tundra below reminds me of the Himalayas... the only thing we're missing are rope bridges over the glacial streams and sherpas to carry our camera gear..!

Tom ;)

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ErinL
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Re: Gnarl Ridge & Elk Meadows 24-Oct-09

Post by ErinL » October 26th, 2009, 3:31 pm

Beautiful pictures. I was at Elk Meadows last weekend (10/18) when it was rainy and stormy. Nice to see the meadows in the sun...and the mountain for that matter!

Erin

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