Wednesday after work, Sue,
Travis and I drove to the Tri-Cities and spent the night at Jason's apartment.
At around Six the next morning, Jason left for Spokane to pick up Michelle and
the Adsitt trio left for Seattle (actually Bothel) to pick up Eric.
He needed to rent a sleeping bag, crampons and an ice axe so we headed to the
REI on Capital Hill. They wouldn't rent the crampons for use with his boots
because they were too limber so Eric rented a pair of steel shank climbing boots
too . The boots stayed at home of course and his limber boots worked fine.
By the time we
got back to Bothel, Jason had arrived in town but didn't know where Eric's house
was (actually it was Eric's brother Mark's house) and had left a message on the
answering machine. We were running ahead of schedule for the first time
ever so. We began packing our packs while we waited for Jason to call back
and were almost ready by the time he and Michele showed up. We threw all our gear in the back of Jason's truck and headed for
After a quick stop at Jack in
the Box, we reached the parking lot at the Lake Ann trail head around 7pm.
Sue carried almost all my climbing gear and the tent. I carried all our
cloths and Travis. Michelle used the internal frame I got from Jim
to carry the food but soon found the pack to be too uncomfortable (she wasn't
the first to hate that pack) and her and Jason switched off. The first two
miles went quick (since it is mostly down hill... go figure). By the time
we passed the Baker Lake cutoff trail and began our assent to Lake Ann, Michelle
was getting pretty tired and irritated with the pack, so we split up.
Eric, Sue, Travis and I continued toward the lake while Jason and Michelle
slowed down a little. We were all using our head lamps by the time we
gained the little pass just before the lake and set up our camps by moon light.
I walked back to offer a hand with Michelle's pack but she wanted to make it on
her own so I returned to the camp. They showed up a few minutes
around 4am and were hiking by 5. It was overcast and we hoped we wouldn't
get caught in the clouds like we did on our last attempt at this mountain.
We worked our
way through the Fisher Chimneys as before and found ourselves at the exact same
location we were on the last attempt, when we failed to find Whinney's Slide. I knew we were
at the same place because of the rock circle someone made as a camp wind break.
Also I recognized the rock cliff that we had tried to get around only to find it to be
a dead end. We could see about as well as we could the first time and I feared
for a moment that our trip would end up in a fit of confusion as before.
Just then, I had a small brain storm... Suddenly I realized that the reason we
couldn't find Whinney's Slide was because we were already above it! While
climbing the chimney in the clouds, we had accidentally followed an upper
section of the chimney system that brought us to the top of the Slide.
That is exactly what we had done two years before but never figured it out.
Then a hole in the clouds drifted by and confirmed my theory.
We climbed onto the glacier and
up along the same route that we had before. When the slope began to level
out, we took a right towards Hells Highway. At that point last time, the
clouds were too thick to see anything but the glacier directly beneath our feet
so we had simply followed the a bearing on the compass. That would have
brought us to the north end of the glacier as we had suspected.
However this time, we had climbed above the bulk of the clouds and could see the
way to Hells Highway.
I decided to attempt a climb
through the top of the crevasse field which was really the top of an enormous
ice fall, but after climbing into a crevasse and finding that the snow was too
unstable to climb up the other side (a six foot fall onto a snow plug was enough
to convince me), we back tracked and went around above the crevasse field.
Hells Highway was solid and aside from some steep snow was not much of a
challenge. We followed the plateau glacier to the summit pyramid and left
our gear. After starting out in the wrong gully (which proved to be a
little too challenging) we worked our way to a large easy gully that took us to
the summit. We spent about forty-five minutes on the summit before
returning to our packs and cooking some soup for lunch.
The clouds were building up
again and we were soon cooled off by cold cumulous clouds. We climbed back
down and arrived at camp around 8pm. The next morning we leisurely packed
up and hiked back to the cars. After the traditional Skippers lunch, Eric
left with Jason, and Sue, Travis and I drove to Whidbey island to visit with
Mike, Lori, Mom and Dad.