First things first. TNAB is the Thursday Night Afterburner hiking group. They go out each Thursday night after work to climb what would normally be full day hikes, but in just two hours. Freaks.
Well, freaky as they might be, it sounds cool. After all, I've been getting more and more into this sort of hiking starting way back when Little Si was a legitimate after-work destination. From there it was Lake Lillian, Snoqualmie Summit at night (plus a bunch of other nightshoeing adventures), and most recently Mt. Si. (Never mind the frequent conditioning hikes up the Twin Falls trail.)
So I emailed the organizer and asked if I could join them in their trip up Pratt Mountain. I'd never been up Pratt and going with folks that are familiar with the route seemd a good idea given the likelihood of snow. In the end, though, the snow turned out to be too much so the group targeted Bandera Mountain instead.
My last time up Bandera was years and years ago with Dan. My memory must have finally failed when I decided Bandera would be a worthy first outing with a new group of hikers. The trail is easy since being rebuilt a few years ago as far as the junction with the new Mason Lake trail. At that point it's back to the old Bandera trail, which climbs unrelenting up the steep slope. It was pretty much like climbing stairs.
And then the snow started falling. Better than the rain, but with the wind blowing it sideways and at times up it wasn't much better.
We gained the ridge and the trail was much easier. We passed through a patch of woods and crossed some small talus on the way to the summit itself. Tokul, who had been solid up until the talus, whined and complained as we climbed. She never has really been good on talus so this wasn't much of a surprise.
At the summit we hung out for all of about 15 minutes. Most of that time was putting on warmer gear for the hike down. We bypassed much of the talus on the return by following the ridge of snow back to the woods. The rest of the hike out was uneventful.
We were back at the trailhead in just under three hours. It was another hour and a half to get home, though, since the last part of the TNAB tradition involves stopping at the North Bend Bar and Grill for drinks.
Total mileage was 7.2 miles and about 3,000 feet.
(Don't like my report? Check out the TNAB report.