Being that it was still summer and I was no longer working and not yet in school, I decided I needed to head to the mountains. I called Ellen and asked if she wanted to climb Shuksan. "Next week?" she asked. "No," I replied, "I was thinking tomorrow. Weather looks stable for the next two days, want to go?" And so we began to pack.
A late departure
By the time we left the next day it was 1:30 in the afternoon. I was stressed because I had wanted to leave Seattle by 10:00 am. But how stressed can you stay when the sky is perfectly clear and you are headed off to the mountains. Soon enough I had forgotten about the late departure and was enjoying usual conversation about life and the world.
After driving for 2 and a half hours we arrived at the trailhead and left the car. I was excited because we had packed up before we left Seattle meaning we just had to put our boots on and lock up the car!
The hike in was fairly uneventful, too hot if anything. But the vies from shannon ridge are always beautiful.
Ellen on the ridge
hiking up Shannon Ridge]It felt like no time at all and we were drinking out of streams just below the Sulfide Glacier. There was still a lot of daylight left so we took our time by stopping to name every peak in sight. There was a solo camper pitching his tent right at the foot of the Sulfide so we hiked up onto the glacier to the top of the ridge where we had views of Baker.
Ellen on the sulfide
Once we arrived at camp the usual camp activities took place, melting water, setting up bivy sacks, arranging gear for the climb, eating dinner, drinking tea, watching the sunset... Soon enough it was 10:00 and out eyes closed for a decent amount of sleep.
Before we even knew it, the alarm rang and it was 4:00 am. We woke up to shining stars and a light breeze. After quickly putting out climbing gear and shoving some food down our throats, we hit the glacier at 4:30.
before the sun came up
We wanted to get to the top sometime near sunrise so we hurried along the glacier which proved to be almost crevasse free. A few hours of walking later we were at the base of the summit pyramid. We had decided that we wanted to climb the SE rib since it seemed like a more fun option. We scrambled up to the ridge right as the sun popped over the horizon lighting up baker and the surrounding peaks.
Ellen on the ridge just as the sun came up
The ridge turned out to be a great climb. The rock is fairly solid and the climbing is easy. We were able to simulclimb the entire ridge in a few pitches with a 30 m rope.
on the ridge
The climbing went fast and soon we were at the top! We scrambled around from one side to the other to get all the views.
Scrambling down the normal gully was easy and quick. Before we knew it were were almost to almost to the turn off for Hells Highway.
just above hell's highway
Somehow here, I dropped the camera and kept going without realizing it. It wasn't until a half mile later I realized the camera was gone. My stomach sank. It is such a terrible feeling when you are having such a great day to lose a camera! But after hiking back up 600 feet I found the camera right where I took the picture above. It had fallen and balanced on the edge of a sun cup. Somehow it didn't slide one way or the other and just balanced. It was such a relief to have the camera back.
the camera fell just above the broken up section below the summit pyramid
All that separated Ellen and I from lots of water and food was the last half of the Sulfide. We thought we were home free until Ellen's crampons began to ball up like crazy. We removed them but it was as if the snow was against us. Under the soft snow was a very hard layer that just boots wouldn't penetrate. Her choices were either crampons on, ball up and slip or crampons off, no traction and slip.
ejp down climbing the glacier
We went slowly and made it back to camp thirsty and tired. A nap was in order so we slept for two hours. Sluggishly we finally got up and hiked back out the way we had come in for another uneventful hike through the woods. When we got back to the car, we realized that the man who was camping at the base of the glacier never set foot on the snow so we basically had the mountain to ourselves. I guess that is what happens when you climb on a Wednesday. A few hours later we were at my apartment drinking tea and looking at pictures, remembering all out adventures.