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Old 04-14-2018, 10:46 PM   #1
sam18802
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Question RE: Early May Night Photography

I'm planning on a much needed getaway for five or so days at the beginning of May to hike, camp and most importantly, haul some photography equipment in anticipation of a July trip to the North Cascades. I know there isn't any camping allowed above treeline, but any recommendations for some secluded campsites for night photography? (Difficult access preferred. I may end up climbing Rainier again this year and the more challenging the better)

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Old 04-15-2018, 10:23 AM   #2
TCD
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I'm guessing Sno Bird (along the trail between Haystack and Basin) is probably the legal campsite that has the strongest combination of high elevation and difficult access. You can make the access as difficult as you like. Difficult approaches might include Panther Gorge or the Saddleback slide. (Straight up bushwhacking would be the most difficult, but would not really be a good simulation of Rainier terrain.)
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:43 AM   #3
DSettahr
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Given your time frame, I'd go prepared for snow and mud. The way things are shaping up this year, possibly more of the former and less of the later. You'll almost certainly need snowshoes if you do anything in the High Peaks.

There's no regulation that says that you can't remain on the summit of a peak after dark taking photos- you just can't camp up there. I'd encourage you to familiarize yourself with why the camping prohibition exists above treeline if you haven't already done so. As long as you're careful about how you do it (stick to rock surfaces), though, I don't see any problem with you staying on a summit for a few hours after dark to engage in some night photography before descending to camp. With that in mind, here's some thoughts about campsites located relatively close summits in the High Peaks:
  • The Snobird designated tent sites are't far from the summit of Haystack (maybe a little bit more than a mile). The hike in to these sites via the shortest route (Garden and JBL) is 8+ miles. Like TCD, this is the first option that came to my mind.
  • The Mary Louise Pond designated tent site isn't far from the summit of Rocky Peak Ridge. RPR has quite a few phenomenal views along the ridge as it descends eastwards. This site is accessed from Chapel Pond via a nearly 5 mile hike with steep and significant elevation gain, or from Route 9 via 6 mile hike with slightly less steep but even more significant elevation gain.
  • The MacIntyre Falls designated tent sites are a little bit less than a mile from the summit of Wright's Peak and a little bit more than a mile from the summit of Algonquin. It's about a 3 mile hike from Heart Lake to reach these sites.
Some other (relatively) difficult to access spots in the ADKs outside of the High Peaks that also come to mind:
  • There is a designated tent site on the summit of Pharaoh Mountain in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. The tent site is located on the north side of the summit- if you're ascending from Crane Pond, turn left where the trail passes through the small notch on the summit and you'll find it. Pharaoh doesn't have a 360 degree panorama, but if you poke around, you can find expansive views in every direction. It's about a 5 mile hike to the summit from Crane Pond Road, and you'll need to either carry your own water in or go prepared to melt snow (if there is still any left).
  • The Fifth Peak Lean-to on the Tongue Mountain Range has great views in the vicinity. It's about a 2.5 mile hike from the trailhead on Route 9N, but you can also take the longer route via Montcalm Point which is about 12.5 miles. The full loop is rugged, strenuous, and spectacular. There may be more light pollution here from Lake George Village, though- depending on the aesthetic you're aiming for, this may or may not be an issue for you. You may also need to carry all of your water in with you here as well.
I hope this is helpful! Good luck.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:00 PM   #4
Woodly
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Expect wind. Howard Mtn offers tremendous views of the Great Range, views almost no one ever sees, and part of it is a bushwack.
I spent part of an evening on Marcy alone one time. That was quite an experience watching the lights come on in distant places and startled by a large antlered buck that I never, ever expected to see up there.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:06 PM   #5
sam18802
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Thanks for the info everyone! I actually hope there is snow left in a few weeks...it would be good practice. I think Seattle has gotten hit with another heavy snow year and I love nothing more than hauling my splitboard into the wilderness for days on end. Eye candy for attention! (Mount Olympus from a 3-day solo venture last June)

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