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Three of us made the ten hour drive from Sacramento on Friday, checked into the Best Western in Government Camp, and climbed on Saturday.
From watching the news and weather on TV, this was apparently record-setting warm weather for the region. We started up along the ski area a bit later than we should have, at 0630. Fortunately, snow conditions were great for much of the ascent. According to a Mountain Rescue climber, there had been recent rains on the mountain. So the top layer of the firm snow was covered with free-form "ice cubes" (my best attempt to describe it). With blue skies and a bright sun, the snow sparkled in every direction.
I've let myself get out of shape, so I was moving slow and feeling quite fatigued. After reaching the base of the fumaroles, approximately 10,100', I decided to call it a day. Looking up at the Hogback clinched it for me. It was a great day on the mountain and I got my share of exercise, so I had nothing to complain about.
My wife and her friend continued on. Unfortunately our late departure, and my slow progress, had caused us to be out too late in the warm sunny day. After regrouping in the lodge after their descent, I learned the snow was beginning to slough underfoot after they had crossed the Hogback, so they wisely turned back.
I enjoyed the Ice Axe beer at the lodge, we relaxed with dinner, and we did some Gorge hiking on Sunday, before returning home on Monday.
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