- Nighttime temperature above sleeping bag rating of 20 F, barely
- Forecast morning dew point below air temperature, no fog
- Forecast sky conditions "partly cloudy"-- a reasonable gamble, since the previous and following day's forecasts are clear
- Experienced hiker support of my mentor and good friend Kirsten Elowsky enlisted to provide expert common sense advice and safety alerts.
Kirsten even built a campfire and provided chocolates to finish off the evening.
Only half an hour after the 3:00 a.m., our packs were stripped down to minimum essential for the hour-long climb to the summit. On arrival at McAfee Knob, we found ourselves alone on a chilly (20's) windswept (also 20's) fog-free granite ledge, looking at a starlight sky about 20 percent occluded by clouds
almost all on the eastern horizon.
We made hot chocolate and wrapped ourselves up to wait for two hours, hoping the sun would break through. Then, back down the hill to strike camp, hike back to the parking lot in the tardy sunshine, and drive off to meet, eat, commiserate, and affirm plans to climb the ridge once again.
Not likely before spring, though.