Five months. Five trips up Table Mtn. What began last November as a sort of novel, one-time experiment too see what doing this hike with snowshoes was like, has become, for some reason, possibly my most vested and personally satisfying athletic goal for this year: To summit Table in 12 succesive months.
I left work last Saturday afternoon around 1:30 and drove straight to Teton Canyon where I changed, got my gear together, and set off on foot for 4 mile jog up Teton Canyon Rd. It was likely somewhere near 40 degrees so I opted for shorts and a long-sleeved Capilene. I also had the added luxury of over an hours worth of daylight more than the last time I did this hike in late February, so leaving the car at 1:55 didn't seem too late. It was looking to be a clear night anyway and I doubted if I'd even need to dig the headlamp out from the bottom of my pack.
I arrived at the base of the climb (the summer TH) after 45 minutes and donned the snowshoes.
The climb up was already showing signs of a rapidly deteriorating snowpack that only ever reached about half of what it should be during a normal winter. Portions of the trail were already uncovered and there was much more brush showing now. But the snow was firm and made for a quick ascent. I could tell the sun-exposed sections of the hillside had been going through melt-freeze cycles and were much firmer that the shadier spots so I tried to stick to the more open areas which allowed for a direct route option... Straight up!
There were two sets of ski tracks criss-crossing up the hill that were definitely from the same day. I heard voices and the scraping of metal edges on crusty snow about 15 minutes up from the bottom and thought it likely that I wouldn't encounter anyone else up here today. (I've had this place completely to myself for each of my last five trips over the past five months.)
This was by far the warmest ascent of the last five. I wore the same shorts and long-sleeved Capilene all the way up to 9,500 ft before putting on the zip-off pant legs and a pair of thin gloves to fend off a slightly more chilly breeze.
The view south from just below the summit. It wasn't too windy or cold, but I expected it to be 100 ft higher up on top so I put on my wind jacket. (sweet red visor!)
The summit was just as breathtaking as ever, except this time it was considerably warmer than the four before so I was able to enjoy it for a little while longer.