Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Seattle-like 30% and Glen Lake Peak

A few years ago the University of Washington conducted a study to see if students understood a weather forecast. They found that given a weather prediction of 20% chance rain and a rain icon, students said that they'd carry an umbrella or jacket with them.  They thought that a 20% chance of rain meant that it would rain for 20% of the day.

The researchers were a bit surprised at this seemingly erroneous interpretation, but I was not.  When you live in Western Washington, a 20% chance of rain really does mean that it will rain for about 20% of the day, not that 2 out of 10 days with the same atmospheric conditions will produce rain (the "correct" interpretation).  A smart person will carry rain gear.

A momentary break in the dense cloud cover

Since moving to Montana I have had to readjust my response to the weather forecast where a 20% chance of rain really does mean that it's much more likely to be a totally dry day.  No more calling off a climbing trip when the forecast hits 30% chance of rain!

This week has been a different story.

The week leading up to Sunday called for low chance of rain every day, and every day it rained for a bit.  Sunday was the lowest probability and we planned to hike up Glen Lake Peak.

The View up Sweathouse Canyon

The day dawned cloudy, but we packed up and headed out.  Drops of rain hit the windshield as we neared the trailhead.

The sky cleared a bit as we started up the first pass, hiking through an area that burned in 2006.

We ate lunch amid a smattering of rain drops by Glen Lake, wishing we had worn long pants.

Then the sky opened up for a bit of a downpour and small hail on our way up to the next two lakes.

Ryan's comment: "Glad I wore my swim suit." (Turns out that board shorts make excellent hiking shorts).

Yes, it rained for about 30% of the day.  A Seattle-like forecast.

Even so, the scenery was beautiful, what we could see of it between the clouds and fog.

Ryan at the top of Glen Lake Peak

Click here to see our gpx tracks and map.  Route finding was not difficult, though the trail disappeared for a little bit after the third lake.  If you're going to drive all the way up to the Glen Lake trailhead, it is well worth the effort to see the second two lakes and head up to the peak.  There is a side trail that bypasses Glen Lake if you want to make a loop - easier to find on the way back between the 2nd and 3rd lake than on the way out.

South Heavenly Twin from the side trail

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