The weather on the west side was unbelievably clear today, so Mike, Mark, Jennifer, Steve and I abandoned the long drive to eastern Washington and settled on a trip up Granite. There was enough snow that an ascent of the winter route looked doable. And it was for the most part. High up on the ridge, though, the snow got impossibly soft – champagne soft – then it disappeared, leaving a wind-whipped hard crust of ice. The angle of the icy hillside then got quite steep. Steep enough that an ice ax would have been a prudent tool. We didn’t have them.
At some point, I remembered thinking that I really, really didn’t want to continue on. That a fall would be impossible to stop. That I might die if I tried to continue. Then I looked back and realized it would be even more impossible to descend safely. Mustering up some courage and heroic concentration, I continued upward to join the others on less gripping terrain another 200 yards or so ahead.
I’m writing about this, so you know that we all made it just fine. As we rested in the lee of the lookout, we all offered up the sum of money each of us would require before descending that slope. My number was really big.
And at the end of the day, I summed it up for Mike and Mark, “I mostly had a good time today.”