Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

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VanMarmot
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Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

Post by VanMarmot » January 23rd, 2011, 5:24 pm


Did the Ruckel Ridge Loop today to stay in shape for summer. There were hints of sunlight when I left the Eagle Creek TH but about the time I reached Buck Point, a gray overcast was gliding into place. Not the best conditions for color photography, so I switched to B&W. My little E-420 isn’t very good at B&W but it took me back to those now prehistoric days when I spent much time in the darkroom fiddling with Tri-X.

A shot across Bonneville to Hamilton,

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and another toward Table, now almost completely devoid of snow (at least close to the Gorge).

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The Ruckel Ridge trail was snow-free and it great shape all the way to the Plateau and there was essentially no snow at 3700’, where it crosses Ruckel Creek. My guess is that there’s little snow N of Hunters Camp and you could probably hike over to the PCT on open ground.

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The Ruckel Creek trail was also snow-free and in good shape, save for a few easily by-passed blow-downs. With no flowers in the hanging meadows, I focused on hanging moss.

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The overcast did not obscure a great view on the way down of Greenleaf, Birkenfeld, and Table – Greenleaf Falls is the little white line just below Table.

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With much of the snow melted, Ruckel Creek has calmed down somewhat,

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but still more spry than it was last October.

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There was a brief spritz of rain as I was passing the vision quest pit, but it didn’t turn into anything seriously wet before I got back to the car. A classic Gorge hike and a good workout as well.

cfm
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Re: Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

Post by cfm » January 23rd, 2011, 6:26 pm

Van Marmot, I don't think you will ever be out of shape.

If you squint you might be able to see me in that first shot, I was goofing around up on Aldrich Butte this morning, and placed my new critter cam on a game trail full o prints and scat!

Love the pano shot of the Table/Greenleaf complex. I have been spotting Greenleaf Falls from I-84 for the past few weeks, and it is calling me. I am considering heading down there tomorrow, join me? Anyone?

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jamesthehiker
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Re: Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

Post by jamesthehiker » January 23rd, 2011, 7:25 pm

Ruckel Ridge has been on my list of to-do's for about a year. That rain storm last weekend must have really cleared out the snow. I understand there are a few sections of the loop that are a bit dangerous...did you run into any ice in the morning? Your pictures are great and thanks for the report!

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VanMarmot
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Re: Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

Post by VanMarmot » January 24th, 2011, 6:43 am

jamesthehiker wrote:Ruckel Ridge has been on my list of to-do's for about a year. That rain storm last weekend must have really cleared out the snow. I understand there are a few sections of the loop that are a bit dangerous...did you run into any ice in the morning? Your pictures are great and thanks for the report!
The recent rain storms not only cleared-out 99.9% of the snow; they also seem to have scoured the trails of a lot of loose material so the tread now has great traction. There are a couple of spring-fed wet spots on the Ruckle Creek trail (these are near permanent features) but the trail is as good as I've seen it.

I wouldn't say the loop has any truly dangerous bits. There are some stretches on Ruckel Ridge where you'd want to pay attention because there is a little exposure. The "Cat Walk" used to be the most exposed semi-3rd class bit, but now there's a use trail that goes completely around it down to the right. When there is snow, finding your way from the top of Ruckle Ridge across the Plateau to the start of the Ruckle Creek trail can be a navigational challenge (now eased somewhat by lots of orange paint blazes) but without snow the tread of the use trail is obvious.

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Roy
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Re: Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

Post by Roy » January 24th, 2011, 9:38 am

Nice report and the black and white photos fit the time of year . It was a nice day to be out in the gorge I did the Hamilton loop on Sunday and found myself wishing I would have taken a longer hike when I returned to my car.

Tom
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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jamesthehiker
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Re: Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

Post by jamesthehiker » February 7th, 2011, 8:10 am

Your trip report motivated me to do the loop on Saturday 2/5. That is one heck of a workout my feet are still feeling it today. Since it was my first time on Benson Plateau I decided to do a little exploring to allow my thighs to stop burning, ha, ha. Traversed the 405b to PCT then back on 405a. Surprisingly, the 405a was completly covered with 6-12 inches of snow. Based on today's weather report of snow levels at 2500 feet, this will all change.

Thanks again for the motivating trip report...

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VanMarmot
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Re: Ruckel Ridge 23-Jan-2011

Post by VanMarmot » February 7th, 2011, 8:41 am

jamesthehiker wrote:Your trip report motivated me to do the loop on Saturday 2/5. That is one heck of a workout my feet are still feeling it today. Since it was my first time on Benson Plateau I decided to do a little exploring to allow my thighs to stop burning, ha, ha. Traversed the 405b to PCT then back on 405a. Surprisingly, the 405a was completly covered with 6-12 inches of snow. Based on today's weather report of snow levels at 2500 feet, this will all change.

Thanks again for the motivating trip report...
Glad you "enjoyed" the ridge - doing it builds character! I've been reminded by others that snow conditions on the plateau can change a lot as you head S just a little. I've found no snow at the Ruckel Creek crossing on the same day (or so) that others have reported 2-3' at Camp Smokey. And, as you say, conditions may all change today...

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