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Return to the Dungeon
posted by John : July 29, 2014

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Navigating the Dungeon

Two years ago Dungeon was a whim. Eric, Treen, and I climbed it after work. The views were full of clouds, but the big granite steps filled me with great memories. So great that Dungeon wound up on the TNAB schedule this year. However, before we could really send the TNAB horde into harm's way it seemed prudent to validate our memory and ensure it was a good destination.

It was a good thing we did. It turns out Dungeon is not a trip to take lightly. If the conditions weren't right we'd be plucking hikers off the mountain all night long.

The problem isn't the initial approach to Lake Lillian. That was routine.

The problem isn't following the shoreline. There are a few dog-challenging spots, but nothing troublesome for hikers.

The problem isn't climbing up to the saddle between Dungeon and Rampart Ridge. There's only one way to go.

The problem isn't even climbing to the summit. All you really have to do is go up.

The problem is navigating the dozens of small cliffs on the way down. We didn't have a problem, but doing it in the dark if you'd never been there before would be tempting fate. Even in almost full light, Eric, KC, and I made a few wrong turns and had to backtrack and climb up instead of down. (Treen doesn't make wrong turns.)

So Dungeon wasn't going to be a winner. At least not as a traditional TNAB destination. (It would feature later in the season as a very advanced option in a Choose Your Own Adventure trip.)

What was a winner was Treen's new pack. It was yet another piece of gear I won online and one I had been planning to buy anyway. She wore the Ruffwear Singletrak Hydration Dog Pack (affiliate link benefiting click here to view at

The pack comes with two half liter bladders and room for a bowl, bags, and a TurboPup bar or two. Since there was lots of water on this trip and Treen hadn't worn a pack in a couple of years she didn't carry water, but did carry a bowl and bar.

The fit took a little while to get right so it didn't slide to one side or the other, but once I figured that out (and Treen did a little backward dance to get used to it) she pretty much forgot she was wearing it. As usual, she ran like a crazy dog, hugged all the remaining snow she could find, and swam in the lake. (Had I been quicker I would have taken the pack off before she went all the way in.)

Other than the carrying capacity, the feature I was most impressed and surprised by was the handle on top. That "dog-challenging" spot on the trail along the shore of the lake was made a lot easier by using the handle when I had to hoist her up.

I'm definitely looking forward to a three day trip she, Henry and I have planned for August. Having her carry her own gear in (and her own... stuff out) will be great. Heck, even Henry's going to be carrying more of his own gear! (Though not his own... stuff.) Still, I'm a long ways from my dream of just hiking along with my camera while the kids and dog carry all my gear.

Hey. A dad's gotta dream.

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