View Full Version : Predawn Hike up Boott Spur

04-26-2009, 10:42 AM
I have tried three times this winter to get a shot here up Boott Spur at sunrise for a clean shot into the bowl. I tried to pick days that offer a chance for some clouds lighting up, so the forecast is such that the sunrise will either be a 10 or a 0.

The first time was a white out. The second time was clear for most of the hike, and then a white out. Yesterday was clear, and with the impending heat, I figured that this was the last chance this winter to get the shot with clean snow.

Showed up at Pinkham with my buddy Brett at 1:30 AM. Wasn't suprised to see another headlamp in the parking lot considering the forecast. Sky was clear, and the trail was wretched. Hard packed 3-6 feet of snow in a narrow track down the center of the trail, and soft thigh deep corn on the sides of the pack. I wore snowshoes but they kept slipping down off the hardpack. Barebooting wasn't an option, as it was 40 to 55 degrees depending on if one of those random warm breezes was blowing at the second. And the trail cooridor was tight, with spruce and fir scraping our faces as we walked through the treetops still.

At 3AM, I checked in with my buddies at the Observatory, and they said that there were showers and maybe thunderstorms on the way. Great! Could I go 0 for 3 on this location this winter...

I made it to just below Split Rock at a bit after 4:30, which wasn't my intention. I blew right past the sign to Harvard Rock, cause it was buried still.

Backtrack, and on track. At first light, dark black clouds swirled to the west, over the ravine. Rain, and hail started to fall. Fortunately only very briefly. Clouds swirled, clouds broke, clouds filled back in. The sun rose to the east over the Carters, but the ravine caught very little light for a while.

More clouds, more sun, rapid changes, as the entire sky changed by the minute. Then finally some light hit the bowl.

And then everything cleared.

With more rain on the way, we didn't linger, although I'm told I missed a rainbow. Not worth the risk of lightning...

A few yellow violets and lots of melting snow were the only major sights on the way down...until we got back to the tucks trail...where we got more than a few wierd looks for heading in on a beautiful day. Thousands were taking to the trail! Quite a sight!

04-26-2009, 11:39 AM
You definitely headed up at a better time than the thousands going later. For what you described as less than ideal light I think the shots you got are excellent. Both images of the bowl show nice contrasts in the changing light. I particularly like the first one both for the quality of the light and for the additional foreground which for me give a nice sense of scale.

04-26-2009, 01:54 PM
I love the sunrise shot!

Steve M
04-26-2009, 09:24 PM
Great shots Jim. It was worth all the effort.