Sometimes the hardest part of a trip is picking the destination. It’s especially hard, when your planned two-day trip is a no-go because of a shitty weather forecast. (Who wants to camp on the snow in rain? Not me.) We already had the time blocked out, so we decided that we might as well use at least some of it to bag a peak or two.
The default destination is often the Teanaway because it sits in a micro-rain-shadow. We settled on a seldom-climbed peak called Red Mountain. (A bit of trivia, there are 12 summits in Washington named “Red Mountain.” After the trip, I had to explain so many times, “No, not that Red Mountain. We climbed the one off FS 46 near Cle Elum.”) It’s ranked #42 on the Alpine Lakes Home Court 100 list and #77 on Washington’s Top Peaks by Prominence, so it’s nothing so sneeze at. It’s just off most people’s radars.
The trail start is a climber’s dream – straight up, no messing around. We reached snow at about 4300′. (Our outing was in early June, so YMMV.) After that, we walked straight up the snow to the saddle on the ridge just south of the summit.
We had bad beta, directing us to Point 5722 to find the remnants of an old lookout site. We didn’t find one, so we headed north to the true summit. Where the snow had melted out, we found a boot path on the ridge and eventually the lookout site.
After that it turned into a true Cascade scramble. Some ups and downs, loose rock, exposed areas, good views, mostly 2nd and 3rd class with a few 4th class moves thrown in for fun. It was cool on the summit and precip threatened, so we beat a hasty retreat back to the cars. All-in-all a fantastic “consolation” climb.
The things I love include outings with my long-time friend and mentor, Mike. In May, we headed out to try an uncharted loop above and in Umtanum Canyon. The loop didn’t happen as planned, but many laughs were had over our attempt.
Hope you have an adventure-filled weekend. Here are a few favorite links from around the web this week.
40-ounce rose, dreams really do come true!
I was raised to value accountability and integrity, which is why it bugs me so much when someone bails on plans we’ve made. Brendan Leonard’s article – Flake on me once … actually just don’t flake – says everything I’ve ever wanted to say about this subject.
Pssst! “Vitamin I” is probably not good for endurance athletes.
The 40% rule, or how to seriously kick ass
Books I’m currently reading:
There were only two and a half days, and that included the going and coming. We took a look and almost said too much for too little. But really, how can you measure the value of a break from your daily routine, going where your whim directs, gardens, farmers markets, dusty bookstores, donuts, the fresh scent of a pine forest and waterfall mist on your face? All of it folded together, leaf upon leaf, a book of vibrant living.
Really, it would be best described as so much for so little.
Out of the saddle, grinding the pedals slowly…my bike inched up the impossibly steep wall of road in front of me. Common knowledge says the San Juan Islands are hilly, but this was insane. As I crested the hill, my husband was about 50 feet ahead of me. “Nick!” I wheezed. “I think [gasp] we may be going the [gasp] wrong way!”
The cycle map of San Juan Island that we brought didn’t have much detail for how to get out of Friday Harbor, so we pulled out the phone to check the Oracle of Google. Sure enough. Wrong way. Thankfully, what goes up, must come down, so we sped back into town to look for the correct road that would take us to our night’s camping destination.
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I lifted a foot to take a step just as a gust of wind passed. The rock below my other foot rocked, and I teetered precariously on my crampons, wishing I was on snow, not some loose piece of Cascade granite. The gust passed and I put my foot down, thankful that I didn’t get blown down the scree slope and onto the steep snow below.
We were on the false summit of Kololo Peaks. It wasn’t far to go to get to the true summit. Just down 50′ of scree to a saddle and back up another 100′ or so. My climbing team had done a grueling 13-mile approach and climbed in near white-out conditions. We weren’t about to be turned so short of our goal. We made it, snapped our “summit picture” and beat a hasty retreat back to camp.
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