I know nothing about climbing in the Cascades (or heathers, for that matter). Why so scary? Lovely pic, btw...
Steep heather (30-degree angle or more) can be very dangerous to walk on--especially if it's a little wet or damp. In late summer, dew forms on heather during the night hours, making it treacherous to walk across, up, or down in the morning hours. Also, if it's getting toward dusk, dew will begin recondensing. Sometimes it doesn't leave all day. Yet, even dry heather can be difficult. I have known climbers to don crampons to cross the stuff. This makes it a lot easier.
Do you not get steep vegetation over yonder in Colorado? Perhaps steep grass? Steep grass or fern or just about anything else can be treacherous if you're not careful.
Here is an example of steep Washington heather (in September). That heather slope's angle is about 30 degrees +/- 10 degrees in spots. Plus, there is steep grass to contend with a little lower. Fortunately, there is a modest trail that traverses all that to gain the notch. Mt. Triumph is beyond.
Thanks for the good explaination. We avoided the crampon option for the sake of the heather and because we were traversing a lot it was indeed sketchy. Danke! NOAH
p.s. Nice shot of Challenger!
"Do you not get steep vegetation over yonder in Colorado? Perhaps steep grass? Steep grass or fern or just about anything else can be treacherous if you're not careful"
Hmm.... I guess it's a little more straight-forward out in CO because our vegetation isn't so lush. I've only climbed around 100 peaks in CO, so I'm no expert, but so far, I've only found myself in treacherous vegetation in the Elk Range. But this is below timberline, so you can use handy bush-belays when its wet. Above timberline, our tundra can get slick when wet, but I think it's a different animal because no one I know would call it a crux.
Thanks for the info! I have a friend who's about to move out to Seattle, so I'm looking forward to visiting him and trying out a climb or two in the Cascades.
When I worked for Outward Bound there was a pass in the Sawatch that was called Fifth Class Grass Pass. If that is any indication, it was just steep and indeed slick. Horrible with a backpack, even worse with 8 or 9 winkies and thier packs!