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I have a special place in my heart for this mountain. It was the first real climb I ever went on. Then it blew its top on my birthday, ten years later.
We hiked above the campground to get a picture of the mountain the evening before the climb. It was so beautiful.
Our route was the standard Dogs Head. It seemed to go on forever, but we finally made it to the crater rim. The highest point was on the opposite side of the rim. It looked very far across the crater to the highest point, but it didn’t take very long since it was nearly flat.
On the way back across the crater, we noticed what looked like a piece of tarp or tent that a small part was just starting to become uncovered. We decided to try to dig it out to see what we could find. We only had our ice axes to dig with, but we soon found an aluminum shovel that helped speed our progress. The abandoned camp must have been there for a couple of years, by the condition of everything. The tent was partially shredded. In places, we had to chip through ice to uncover the tent. There were a couple pack bags and frames. One frame was so badly corroded that it just fell apart.
It turned out that there were many small items such as down booties and mittens, various plastic bottles and containers, a 22 caliber pistol and box of shells (not on the usual list of climbing essentials). I pieced together the Kelty pack bag from the bad frame with the other frame and ended up with a much better pack than I went up with. I used it for many years. The three of us split up the loot and continued down the mountain.
As we descended, we speculated about what might have happened to cause a party to leave this stuff. We figure that someone must have gotten hurt and the remaining members packed all they could carry of the more valuable things and left the rest.
I have always wondered what really happened. Maybe someone on this wonderful resource of Summit Post will someday shed light on the rest of the story.
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