Glacier Peak - 2006
A true adventure is a team of four with only one with any glacier experience. We left on Friday with the goal to return by Sunday night, a bold effort for the most remote mountain of the five major volcanoes in the Cascades in Washington. The first 5 miles to Old Mackinaw Shelter was flat and ran along the river. We camped there for the night, and in started bright and early on the switch backs that took us to Red Pass over looking a beautiful valley on the Pacific Crest Trail.
We continued onto the actual mountain and camped on the glacier for the night. We awoke at 1am, cooked breakfast, and left for the summit around 3am. It was evident as we started that our team would not break any speed records due to the glacier rope leaning curve. We continue through the morning and arrived at the high saddle sometime after sunrise. As we pressed onto the crest toward the false summit of Disappointment Peak, the air was fresh and the sun was brilliant.
We rounded the the false summit for the final push for the saddle, and after a lengthy delay, we carried on and made it to the summit nearing 2pm. The views were breathtaking and we enjoyed the our time on the summit.
The moment we descended off the summit, the sky closed in and the weather changed for the worst. As we arrived back at the lower saddle beneath the false summit, one climber was not feel well and another long rest was required. The descent proved just as slow but we continued on. As we approached an area from early in the day, a "shortcut" was decided that proved otherwise. We made it around it anyway with tempers flaring but continued down the final slope to camp. The sky closed in further and we found ourselves in a white out condition near dark, no sleeping bags, and camp no where is site. Lucky, at the final moment of light, we found our shelter, jumped into our bags and went to sleep. It was a long day and it was good to be at camp. We arose the next day, broke camp, and made our what to the trail head 18 miles away.
The descent was painful in my old boots and by the time I got back to the car, six layers of skin we gone from the back of my heal with blood everywhere. Climbing in 10% physical and 90% mental requiring ever conscience effort to make it the final 5 miles from the Old Mackinaw Shelter. I had no choose with a job interview in the morning which I desperately needed. We made it with yet another story to tell.
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