Monday, May 5, 2014

Johnson/Medra #1383 4130'

I wasn't enthused with the idea of spending any more time in the rain. I have been buffeted with wind and rain of late and I needed something a bit drier for this day. I have always had good luck with sneaking a weather window in Teanaway. This has had led to a serious lack of targets I haven't done. I managed to find a unnamed summit that I hadn't done coupled with a trail I hadn't been on before. It seemed like a good plan. I would use the Johnson/Medra trail until the trail split and I would follow the right branch to connect to the ridge until I could head South to connect with to 5520' . I had a tight time schedule but since this was a shorter climb I thought I could fit it in. I stopped in Issaquah for some supplies and received a message from my wife needing my help at home. I backtracked home loosing my time window. Finally getting back on the road I was lost for a backup plan. Since it was raining quite heavily I decided to stick with the original plan hoping to at least stay dry.

The North Fork Teanaway road was mostly snow free but did have more potholes than in the past. The potholes gave me some trepidation since my air suspension is on the fritz leaving me on the lowest setting making potholes much more jarring than what I would like. I found a good spot to park across from the trailhead and suited up. Thankfully it was mostly sunny although a bit nippy. I crossed the nice bridge to find the trail mostly buried in snow. I was surprised to see fresh prints in the snow but none returning. Since there were no cars at the trailhead I was a tad perplexed. The trail was easy to follow with some stretches free from snow. After about a  mile I ran into the group that had left the footprints. Evidently they had parked further up the road. After briefly chatting I made my way a short ways further to find the trail crossing the creek. While It wasn't overly difficult I chose not to try to cross. I had spied some flagging just before running into the group so I decided to investigate. I didn't see any obvious trail near the flagging but it did appear that there had been some sort of traffic heading up the ridge. The going was somewhat steep but mostly open. I only intended going a short ways up to see how it would go. The going was enjoyable so I continued on reaching the ridge proper at around 4000'. Here there was much more flagging so I kept climbing hoping to get some views. There are numerous ups and downs but the going was straightforward. After reaching 4130' the wind and rain started to kick up so I decided that since I was near my turnaround time I best head back. I decided to continue on the ridge to the SE which was a direct line to the car. The ridge has plenty of ups and downs and finally I decided that I best stick with the known. I am sure had I continued the descent of the SE ridge I wouldn't have any issues but I couldn't afford to have any delays to make it home it time. I decided to head back the way I had come. I had a fun descent back to the trail with the ground soft enough to plunge step large portions.

Not much of a day but it was , as always, very good to get out.

Approx 4 miles 1200' of climb 2 hours car to car.

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