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Wyeth Trail to Green Point Mountain (18+ mile hike)

Before hiking Green Point Mountain ridge last weekend, I had a number of folks ask about doing this hike again.  I said I would do it next year, but I lied!  Let's do it this coming Saturday 11/23.  Looks like one more stretch of dry weather through this upcoming weekend, so let's give  it a go!

(I'm throwing down the gauntlet since you all asked :)

Please note the EARLY EARLY Meetup time!  This is necessary to have any chance of finishing during daylight hours.  This is a "fast" paced hike, with some trail jogging/running.  You must have experience hiking 20+ miles in a day.  This is a doable hike in the daylight hours, but requires a faster pace.

I am going to take a completely different route up to Green Point Mountain Ridge this time.  We are going to park at the gates outside the Wyeth Campground and head up the Wyeth trail.  This trail leads up, up up to about 3900 ft where we will leave Wyeth Trail and head west on Green Point Ridge Trail (#418).  We should see 2-4 inches of snow on the ground, but it is hikable given my experience last weekend (bring gaiters!).  From above, I hope we will see North Lake and Rainy Lake as we approach the summit point of the Green Point Mountain ridge (4730 ft) and gawk for a little bit.  My hope is that we will see some STUNNING views of Mt Defiance, Mt Hood, Mt Adams, etc, with snow dusted lakes below us.  We will head a little further south on the ridge, descend about 700 feet and loop around Rainy Lake and then North Lake.  Once back on the Wyeth Trail, we will follow it back to the Wyeth TH.  Seems easy?  Of course it is!

Estimated Distance: 18.2 miles

Estimated ascent: 5306 ft

Difficulty: VERY DIFFICULT 

Estimated Hike Time: 10-ish hours.  NOTE: this is a fast hike!

I suggest $10 for drivers.

We will start hiking on later than 7am and hopefully finish by 5pm.  We will take a handful of short 5-minute breaks.  I expect some trail running/jogging on the descent.

There might be an interesting creek crossing.  Bring an extra pair of socks.

IT WILL BE COLD ON THIS HIKE!  PREPARE FOR MID-20F TEMPS!

Bring your best insulting layer and ear muffs or balaclava.

The day temps in the area call for mostly sunny and 50F on Saturday, but I expect 15F lower as we gain altitude.

This is a LONG DISTANCE HIKE, which means different precautions are suggested, the least of which are:

1. Lighter pack

2. Headlamp    <- REQUIRED!

3. Food to be eaten during the hike rather than stopping for lunch, appropriate for endurance hiking.

4. Less water to carry - I will bring a water pump.

5. Comfortable hiking shoes!

We will try to keep up a pace around[masked] mph uphill and around 3.0 mph on the plateau.  Consider this a "fast" hike.  If you don't know what that means, you will be rather miserable on this hike.  There is a possibility we could be descending a steep trail (Wyeth) in the dark.  My hope is that won't be the case, but please be prepared.

Bring the 10 essentials as you see fit, but understand this is a long distance hike and minimize your hiking equipment.

My Hiking Style:

I have three basic rules for hiking: 1) Be safe 2) Respect the environment and 3) Have fun!  I do not consider myself a "fast" nor "slow" hiker.  We will try and finish before dark.  At the end of the day, my hope is that the hiking group feels they have had an adventure for all the right reasons.

PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK; Northwest Wilderness Group organizers are volunteers. We come prepared to lead you on a trail or off trail hike but assume no liability for your safety getting to or from the trail-head or on the hike. In case of accident, illness, or other incapacity, hikers must pay for their own medical and/or evacuation expenses, whether or not the hiker has specifically authorized them.

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  • Craig G

    Susan provided an excellent explanation of the "ice spikes" we saw on this hike. My quote of Susan from over in the portlandhikers TR:


    "Warning - about to put my geek hat on....

    Yep - needle ice can be really beautiful and it's amazing how quickly the needles can grow. Take some soaking wet ground at 35 degrees, get the air temp down to 20 at night, and the top layer will freeze and expand, always expanding upward since that's where the pressure is least. This pulls the water beneath it closer to the surface, where it freezes, and repeat..."

    November 26, 2013

  • Craig G

    Trail report posted on portlandhikers.org:
    http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=17579

    November 25, 2013

    • Janice

      Did you mention it was cold? :)

      November 26, 2013

    • Craig G

      Hmmm, was it cold?

      November 26, 2013

  • Sherpa Chatchay Mazama M.

    Another classic Craig G's hike. Never been to that area before. Beautiful sunny blue skies day. My GPS says that we trekked about 20 miles round trip in ten hours. Wow!!! Very strong group. The people are wonderful and enthusiastic. Thank you Craig for putting this together and letting me sweep. Also I made sure that one of our member is okay and safe. I will see you on a next outdoor adventure.

    1 · November 25, 2013

  • andee

    'Twas fabulous!!!!!

    2 · November 25, 2013

  • Gene M.

    It was a wonderful hike. I could not have had better hiking companions. Thank you Craig for a very impressive job of organizing it and being thoroughly prepared. I thought it was fun weather in which to be hiking in such a beautiful area of the gorge. Sure it was a bit chilly and windy (it is late November), but it was a gorgeous clear day with that special clarity that comes only in winter.

    Just as I was about to doubt Craig's promise of wonderful views, we crested Green Point Mountain and had a spectacular panoramic vista of Jefferson, North Sister?, Hood, Defiance, Adams, Goat Rocks?, and Ranier with Rainy Lake in an idyllic setting below. The other highlight for me was the endless and delightful varieties of ice; hoarfrost, rime, frozen puddle formations and ice spikes, that we came across during the day. Thanks to all, and I very much look forward to the next outing.

    2 · November 24, 2013

  • Craig G

    Hiking stats:

    Distance covered: 19.4 miles
    Total ascent: 5543 ft
    Overall speed: 2.0 mph (fast!)
    Elapsed Time: 9:44:58

    Low air temp: 24F

    November 24, 2013

    • Tongbay

      24?? Are you sure? Felt more like 6° at times! :)

      1 · November 24, 2013

    • Craig G

      Agreed. For the distance traveled, we hit about 8 micro-climates. The air temp may have been 24F, but the 15-20mph wind caused the temps to feel as if they were about 0F in some spots. Other times, we had 33F temps with no wind and sun.

      November 24, 2013

  • Craig G

    We started hiking at dawn (7am) with a 25-30mph wind that decreased below 5mph once we got into the forest. The ascent on Wyeth was very fast up to 4000ft elevation. The coldest part of the hike was at the Wyeth intersection with Green Pt Ridge trail on the ascent were we hit 25 mph winds on the last 500 ft ascent to the ridge. The last 500 ft ascent to the GP ridge required face protection/balaclavas. The wind subsided on the forested ridge until we got to the GP summit point at 11:20am. Incredible clear views, but the wind kicked up again (30+ mph). Had a quick lunch in the WWII lookout shack. Descended Rainy Wathum trail where the temp rose 8F in 3/4 of a mile and the wind decreased. It was very pleasant, relative to what we dealt with before. Rainy Lake and North Lake were beautiful and frozen over. Remaining descent was in the low 30s. No other hikers seen all day. Snow not a factor. 2-3 inches of packed hard snow on the GP ridge.

    1 · November 24, 2013

  • Craig G

    Thank you friends Andee, Gene, Janice, Chatchay, Juergen and Tongbay for getting up early, braving the cold/wind and completing this amazing loop. I am very grateful. Our group finished right around 5pm as it got dark, squeezing what is typically a 12 hour hike into 10 hours. Mother Nature had many incredible ice sculpture on display, which stopped us in our tracks only to gawk at their beauty and detail.

    3 · November 24, 2013

  • Janice

    I froze my "butt" (Craig) off which takes away a star from this hike. Other than that it was a great hike. This group was a lot of fun. I'm never disappointed. Thanks Craig for organizing.

    1 · November 24, 2013

  • Craig G

    I am going to throw in my microspikes. The last 700 ft ascent to the ridge could be icy.

    1 · November 22, 2013

  • B.G

    Craig: I started to shiver just looking at those pictures. Its going to be probably below freezing, but its still okay since its sunny and freezing rather raining and freezing.

    1 · November 22, 2013

    • Craig G

      Sunny, freezing........and don't forget.......breezy. Motivation for a fast pace :)

      November 22, 2013

  • Craig G

    We will plan to stop for food/dinner at Sheri's in Troutdale after the hike. The hike is just a thinly veiled ruse to that end :).

    1 · November 18, 2013

    • Juergen

      You got coupons for free pie again?

      2 · November 19, 2013

    • Craig G

      Word gets around fast when it comes to free pie! Yes - I do. It requires a commitment to go on the hike. Free food seems reasonable as a trade (bribe?) for folks to stand in the cold at 5:30am on a Sat. Send me a Meetup message with your email and I'll set you up.

      November 19, 2013

  • Craig G

    Originally, I had incorrectly posted for Sunday. The hike is actually on Saturday. My apologies for the confusion.

    1 · November 18, 2013

    • KRIS

      Craig, the Mt St Helens hike came up c/o Bruce.. I can't pass up that opportunity... I will rsvp out and give my spot to someone else... thanks

      November 19, 2013

    • Craig G

      Sounds good and thanks for the headsup. Good luck Kris! 5am Meetup for St Helens. We are the "late" group then ;)

      November 19, 2013

  • Deborah

    Would LOVE to do this hike, timing just didn't work this time. Enjoy.

    November 19, 2013

  • Craig G

    A visual of the route has been uploaded onto the Meetup site: http://files.meetup.com/1808491/WyethtoGP.jpg

    November 18, 2013

  • Craig G

    (From previous notification below)
    To prepare for these considerations/possibilities, we will likely do the following:
    1) Make sure everybody has a hardcopy of the hiking route. I will post it Wednesday latest.
    2) Each bring a compass - just in case and know how to use it.
    3) Employ a "sweep". We will likely rotate the sweep.
    4) We may break up into two groups - the "really fast group" and "the fast group". We will decide based upon the organization and progress of the group. There cannot be a slow group.

    Understanding this is an adventure, we want to be as safe as possible, which includes being prepared and educated about the route.

    1 · November 18, 2013

  • Craig G

    Greetings -

    Given the distance, elevation and temps, there are some considerations:
    1) We must assume that the hiking group could get spread out somewhat. This seems to happen on many long hikes, even to the most experienced groups. It is better to plan for this before it happens.
    2) Folks hike at different rates, even if it is a "fast" hike.
    3) It could be too cold in places to wait for long periods of time for folks to catch up.

    November 18, 2013

  • Meryl L.

    just did wyeth trail to N. Lake last saturday. very manageable 14mi hike,. the trail to Green Point looked steep but also doable. Have fun. I'll be on Defiance next weekend.

    2 · November 18, 2013

    • Susan

      Have fun up there... Wyeth is a nice trail. The plateau can hold more snow than expected but it should be easy visual to stay on trail at least as far as the Greenpoint junction.

      November 18, 2013

    • Craig G

      Good point Susan - I hiked the plateau last week and the trail was not visible due to snow. Like you indicated, it was straightforward to follow the trail.

      November 18, 2013

  • Scott

    They have a 5:30 in the *morning* as well?

    2 · November 18, 2013

    • Craig G

      Greetings Scott - Being awake before, during or after this Meetup is not required. Hiking in various states of consciousness (or lack thereof) is OK as long as one is keeping up and stays ontrail. :)

      November 18, 2013

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