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|Weather||Clear, cloudless sun|
|TrailConditions||5-10' of mushy snow|
|Mailed to WacList|| |
|Guye Peak (North)
1. Snow blindness is very real and painful.
2. Duct tape on the sides of your sunglasses to block the light is quite fashionable and works wonders.
3. Be sure to cover your forearms with sunscreen even if wearing a long sleeve shirt. (anyone wanna see a cool tan?)
4. Use different packs for pack checks and actual climbing to save weight (ask Emma).
Pat laid down the map at 8:00 a.m. and told us that we were going to Snoqualmie Mountain and traversing to Lundin and laid the ground rules (such as starting on the wrong side of the river) and then he promptly let Alzheimers set in. The students came up with a trip plan to go up the saddle near the Snow 1 camp then the southeast ridge to the Snoqualmie Summit. The ETA for the saddle was 9:30, and maybe another hour to get up to the summit.
We set off from the campground to the tune of Pat's best Gilligan Island's rendition and followed someone else's snowshoe tracks into the woods. When pointed out by some smart instructor that the creator of these tracks could also be lost, Emma replied "Well, they look like happy tracks" which became the theme for the day.
A couple hours and many group huddles later we found the right snow bridges across the many streams and eventually reached the saddle, despite Pat's grumblings such as "Ah, they decided to take the hard way up". We took a lunch break and enjoyed the great views of all the big peaks, even Adams in the distance.
Down the back of the saddle we got out of the trees and saw a cool valley lined with avalanche debris.. we chose the route up a corniced ridge with ledges that evidently offered some protection. This ridge offered nearly 2000 vertical feet of kicking steps led mostly by Emma and Geoff (I think), just to the left of the sun-baked cornices. We'd see grapefruit sized chunks of snow bounce along to either side of the group every few minutes up this steep trudge.
This is where the hot sun made gallons of salty sweat & sunscreen pour into my eyes, virtually blinding me. A hat and an ophthalmologic duct tape fix at one of the ledges, despite Maria's complaints of "almost there", made me good to go. There was a solo hiker kicking happy steps all the way up the ridge that we followed to the rocks, and then a short traverse over to the true peak arriving at 2:30, just as planned.
Pat radioed over to Dave and George over on the Tooth who were evidently waving to us but we couldn't really see them all the way down there in the shadows of our peak.
Pat made the call not to traverse to Lundin because of avalanche danger and because the group was dog-tired (actually the solo climber's golden retriever that was up there had far more energy than I) so we followed the same route back down via a series of glissades through the mushy snow-cone slush.
Back to the Snow 1 camp, most of the group hiked the 600' up to Guye Peak, led by Geoff's bow-legged cowboy steps kicked in the snow (as Pat noted) up to the peak where we sat and stared at the views for a half hour--what a difference a week can make. Maria pontificated the phallus-like qualities of Mt. Rainier's Liberty Ridge, which might be explained in Rob's forthcoming report of Friday's trip.
We glissaded ("look, ma, no rainpants") back down to last week's self-arrest station to our packs, briefly probed for hidden treasures and trudged on out through the woods and made it down to the cabin just as the Tooth group was arriving at 6pm. Gorged on pancakes and eggs at the Pancake House before heading back to Seattle.