Night In the Whites

By:  Sam
September 20, 2009

One of the many plans that Greg and I came up with for our Presi-traverse hike involved waking up at 11:30PM and hiking through the remainder of the night. We thought it’d be really cool to be above tree-line on a clear nice night with a full moon. Ultimately we bailed on that plan for the traverse hike, but I was fixated on the idea for several days afterwards.

To put my fascination with this quirky little outing to rest, I knew I’d have to follow through. I managed to convince five others that it was a good idea, and on Sunday morning of Labor day weekend we got underway. We made a big pancake breakfast, packed up, and drove over to the Cog base. After stopping for every imaginable reason, we finally arrived sometime in the mid afternoon, and set off up the trail towards Clay.

Just above treeline:


As we hiked up, we felt like salmon swimming up stream, there was an unending trickle of day hikers coming down the trail.

When we reached Clay, we left our overnight gear and headed up to the summit with our empty water bottles. I personally like to avoid the summit of Washington in the summer, but most of the group hadn’t been there yet, so the dual necessities of water, and tagging the summit, required that we head on up.

Our group of intrepid explorers:

As we refilled our water, the lighting got dramatic and we headed back to Clay with cameras in hand.

(a little over-photoshopped)



Missed the last train down…

Jacob’s ladder soaking in the alpenglow.

Allen, enjoying the sunset:

We got setup for the evening and started cooking up some pasta. As we were boiling water the moon started to rise:

The sun wasn’t even fully down in the West.


I had some really frustrating results with long exposures that night. Conditions were perfect, but my tripod wouldn’t hold still in the slight breeze we were experiencing.

Our friendly neighbors left the light on.

The morning greeted us with a cloud:


Some of us were still in high spirits though….

On empty stomachs, we made a mad dash down next to the cog and raced back to town in time for everyone to get to work. All in all, a great success.

Read about the author:   Sam
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Schuss Kabob


  1. Tony
    wrote on September 20th, 2009 at 3:01 pm  

    Very nice report Sam, Loved the shots.

  2. David
    wrote on September 20th, 2009 at 3:36 pm  

    Great report and photos, Sam. This really makes me miss the East Coast and Mt. Washington. I’ve always wanted to spend the night above treeline like that. That profile shot of Allen in front of the sunset is beautiful.

  3. christian
    wrote on August 2nd, 2010 at 6:33 pm  

    a 22oz beer for breakfast? is there a ‘like’ button on this thing!?

    • Greg
      wrote on August 2nd, 2010 at 6:44 pm  

      we need one… although that beer was a little small. only a normal sized (32oz) beer will do at that hour

    • Sam
      wrote on August 3rd, 2010 at 1:05 pm  

      … kinda seems like someone might be compensating… that or a beer arms race is about to begin.

    • Greg
      wrote on August 3rd, 2010 at 1:18 pm  

      definitely an arms race

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