We lounge on a sunny cascade snow beach under perfect blue skies. Today, a haggard snow hike across the wild Cascade backcountry put us within striking distance of this most beautiful of Cascade peaks. We kick back, drink beer and espresso, and talk to the climbers who have just come off the summit. After a sumptuous dinner, we drift off to sleep before the sun sets, hoping for an alpine start .
4 am. Clouds obscure our chances for the summit. Preparations include securing the camp in the event of storm. I retch. The wind begins to gust unpredictably at our ridge camp. We stumble off into the darkness, cursing our way across jumbled scree slopes. It begins to drizzle.
This is stupid. Why do we go on? Because we can always turn back in an hour or two, if it keeps raining? Morons. Miserable morons.The worst conditions either of us have ever seen at the beginning of a summit attempt. The drizzle turns to a steady downpour. Black streams of water run off the just-visible rock in the first somber light of a bleak grey dawn.
Summit. We lounge on an abrupt pyramid in a flawless azure Cascade sky. A slight breeze and distant scattered clouds are the only remnants of our silly morning doubts. Endless glaciers stretch below. Pat tries to pick out Mt. Logan in the endless sea of peaks reaching forever.