A Walk in the Park?
I climbed this mountain 35 years ago with the Seattle Mountaineers. I'll try to find a picture from that climbed later. Here is the story this time around: We sure found the good weather for this 3 day march. Climbing in the Olympics from the Bellingham area requires some planning. We made the decision to take the Keystone ferry, but it didn't leave until 7:15 AM. So we were not to the trail until noon. We carried only day packs, light bivy sacks and fleece liners for bags. It was more than adequate. The weather was very mild. We tracked the miles with the ample signage and watches. We averaged about 3 miles an hour to the Ranger Station at 9 mile marker. We were introduced to a constant companion...Mice! We made respectable time for us, but getting the noon start and the distance, we were wearing down. By the time we arrived at Elk Lake we were ready to call it camp. We actually bivied at Martin Creek because Elk Lake area was full, but running water was closer and we had the area to ourselves.
We awoke at 3:00 am, left camp by 4:00 am. The sun was just lighting things up when we passed Glacier Meadows. We crossed the Blue Glacier quickly, made almost direct line to the base of rock below Snow Dome. We just continue climbing to Snow Dome, roped back up for the Glacier Travel. There was a faint boot path we followed. We could not go directly to the col between the West Peak and false summit because of a huge Bergschrund. The Ranger had confirmed what the guidebooks said, late in the year, travel somewhat south through Crystal Pass and come around to the summit block from the south side of the ridge of smaller "Fingers" trailing from the West Peak (true summit). It was a great place to be. Only two other climbers up to this point. We found the summit block, dropped our packs and crampons. We simul climbed with some pro, couple of belays on the way and the summit was ours. We took pictures and off we went. Two raps and some down climbing we were back to our packs. It was another great climb with son, Andrew and good friend, Nick. We got back to our camp almost dark again for a dinner and bed. We hiked out to our van the third day by 2:30 pm. Off to Forks for a burger, then onto the Ferry and home. No disappointments. According to our info...44 miles and 7400 feet of elevation gain. Not bad for two old guys and a kid.
No comments posted yet.