An exciting, unsuccessful summit bid is usually more gratifying than a routine, successful climb. Xmas Day was no exception. I hiked up Airline, stopping just below the ridge to don mask and goggles.
It snowed the day before and, once on the ridge, visibility deteriorated dramatically. The blowing snow made it increasingly difficult to see the next cairn. Ice forming on and in my goggles didn't help much either. The going was extremely slow. I passed by the sign post that tells you you're half a mile from the summit and I estimate I was no further than a quarter mile away, perhaps less, when I had to turn back. I simply could not see where I was going. Amateurishly, I found myself in a situation where I could not see the trail or any cairn ahead - or behind. The wind and snow were so disorienting I had to guess the direction I had come in as I beat a retreat. As I read what I just wrote, I find that I failed to capture the sensation - one of those "you had to be there" scenarios, maybe, but it was exhilarting!