Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Yellow Hill 5.18.04

Today's goal was for a summit of Yellow Hill as well as Elbow Peak. The weather was rather pleasant as I left but there was a forecast for thundershowers in the foothills. As I neared the trailhead it became apparent that I was going to be stuck in some very unsettled weather. I parked near 3400ft where there is a posted ""trail"" sign. It is possible to drive all the way to 3800ft and join the trail there. There was much lightning activity as well as some pretty substantial pea sized hail showers. I am not quite sure what the chances are of being hit by lightning, but it seemed quite a bit higher in the open areas of the climb. I spent the majority of time hunkered down waiting for another hail shower to pass. There was probably 50-60 thunder claps in the less than two hours that it took me to summit Yellow Hill. Some of these claps were so close and so loud that it would really make you jump each time. I have never climbed in any condition quite like this, I was amazed at the length that each thunderclap could be heard. I am quite sure that some were over a minute in length. I gave up on doing the ridge traverse to Elbow Peak, I really had no desire to be out in the open for that length of time. I retreated to the truck as the weather improved. There was only patchy snow until 5300ft where the trail was completely covered. I mearly left the trail at this point climbing the less than 300ft to Yellow Hill's summit. I was treated with some nice views of Mt Stuart with a thunders shower perched at it's summit, making it look like it was wearing a cloud hat. The return home was no less eventful as I lost a bolt on the alternator causing me to loose the fan belt stranding me in Easton with no parts stores open. Kudos for my parents on coming to get my sorry ass.

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