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West Bandera
posted by John : May 12, 2011

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Here comes the snow

Not that it didn't try this year. But with a Spring that just won't get sprung we faced snow where the trail left the road and unstable, postholing slush above. Luckily, a bunch of hikers were PreNABbing (starting early) so there were steps kicked into the steep slope all the way up to the summit even if they were a little too far apart for the ladies.

Not that Treen had any problems. She was having a blast in the warm weather. (The term "warm" being relative. It was in the 40s for most of the hike.) Me? Well, let's just say I've got a ways to go to get back into TNAB shape. I passed a couple of people on the trail and didn't get passed by anyone, but that might be because I was the last of the main group to leave the trailhead. On the upside, I was able to hike in shorts, t-shirt, and sunglasses. (Yes, I was wearing gaiters and had a full pack of emergency gear, too.)

We needed snowshoes for only the last few hundred feet of gain to the summit where we hoped for a beautiful sunset. It kind of delivered, but nothing like last year. We 'shoed back down to where we put them on and switched poles for axes for a steep glissade. In shorts. Hmm... bad planning. Always looking on the bright side, I was numb pretty quickly so I could thoroughly enjoy the rest of the slide including giving Eric an extra bump when I caught up to him.

Below there was a flurry of activity as another hiker had triggered a little avalanche while coming down an unbroken slope. He rolled out of it and nobody was hurt, but it was a sobering reminder that the mountains aren't all fun and games.

The walk out was long. Perhaps made longer by soaking wet shorts and ripped up knees where the icy crust had lacerated my skin above my gaiters. Treen happily jumped in the truck and settled in for a snooze while I lived it up at the Pour House.

If all my Bandera trips turn out this well I might just make it my new favorite mountain.

Totals: Six miles and 3,000 feet of gain.

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