Dicey, Yana and I headed up Kendall peak. We used Commonwealth basin as the approach.
Once in the basin we took a right and headed up. The snow was suck!!! IMO! Skiers would love it! There was about 18" of granular corn. It was sloppy and moved and slid quite a bit on the steeper sections. There was some postholeing, with more on the way down. We used our snowshoes till it was too steep. Once up the steep forested ridge, we started a rising traverse along the large open slopes.
I notice some small slides and tons of snowball/pinwheel slides. I was ok till they started rolling down...by/ towards us . I was a bit sketch thinking about one of the big snowballs taking me down the slope with it! It was like being in a bowling ally and you are the pin!!
Dicey was playing baseball and golf with her axe as they rolled by us. NUT!
We noticed a snow ramp and a rock shelf that would have worked if the rock was not soooo wet and slimy. Also the snow was thin and unpredictable (Yanas comments “who’s stupid idea was this? )
We decided to drop back down and do a high traverse to the next gully to the right of the ramp. Soooo we had to traverse the nasty snow!!! We reached a spot we had to down climb to avoid a moat/hole. Looking down below there was huge HOLE. If one fell they would fall into it. Freaky! As we traversed we created small snowball slides. The entire slope was covered in small to quite large snowballs. Sorry to the skiers for destroying the slope.
Once beyond that we reached a spot where we needed crampons. I was having trouble with my ankle and really didn’t want to use crampons. All I could see is me cranking my ankle again. It was already inflamed from the snow (with this snow it was hard to keep control of my foot. So it rolled many times throughout the climb.) This is where I had to say go on without me... 300' from the summit!!!!! Grrrr...
I sat for about 30 minutes and then heard them holler from the summit!! Good work gals! Wish I had finished with you....welll on second thought ....
The descent was a blast!! We did several glissade down causing some small wet slab slides. Crotch plowing!!! Fun stuff!! Thanks you two!!
Now I know they have a great report of the summit climb...after hearing it I am kinda glad I didn’t go...
Oh and the weather was good and dry with some sun till we reached the spot I stopped than we have quite the snowstorm. Only one time did the cloud deck drop enough for a white out.
We finished the day off with a few hours of climbing at the gym, joined by Randy and Lizz. Oh yeah...great day!! Thanks all!! Oh and thanks for the steps Yana and dicey
Stats. 6.5-7 m rt (not exact but close..)
2784 gain from the trail head..a bit more this time of year due to the th being snowed in so one must park across the highway at the pass parking area.
Joined: 11 May 2004 Posts: 2836 | TRs | Pics Location: giving cornices a wider berth
Thu May 03, 2007 1:03 pm
Thanks Tazz! Great report. Sorry I don't have any pictures to add, but I generally don't bring my camera if the weather is supposed to be crappy. I think Yana leaves her camera at home when the weather is going to be crappy to somehow encourage the weather to "prove she made a mistake".
Anyhow, the first part of the trip went down pretty much as Tazz reported. I don't blame her one bit for not wanting to continue up once crampons were needed. A bum ankle + crampons is really asking for trouble!
Yana and I continued up the gully, gaining the ridge quickly. We removed our crampons here as the rest of the route appeared to be a rock scramble. Yana questioned the wisdom of leaving the ice axes behind in case we came across any more snow, but I assured her we would be able to find an exclusively rock route to the summit. Since we were leaving our packs, and mostly needed both hands to climb (class 2 or a little harder when wet and partially snow covered), we didn't have a way to carry the axes anyhow.
Off we went. The scrambling was fun over wet, mossy, loose rock. Care was taken to find solid hand and footholds and to not knock rocks down on each other, or dislodge large loose blocks. Where staying on the ridge became impractical due to cornices or dizzying exposure to the east, we traversed ledge systems to the west. Then, we came upon a steepish, wind sculpted snow filled gully, with the summit just beyond it. Darn! There wasn't a way around this one. What to do? Improvise, naturally!
I grabbed a rock for "just in case", and Yana grabbed a short sturdy stick, which I secretly coveted. I wasn't all that happy about crossing this slope without an ice axe, but short of turning around, there weren't any other options. I set out carefully, making good solid steps for Yana to follow. Halfway across, I was committed and feeling more confident. At some point it began to snow pretty hard. Across the snow slope, we had a short rock scramble to the summit and whooped to Tazz so she would know we made it. After about 30 seconds or so, we carefully retraced our route back to our packs and brushed off the snow (which was blowing crazily upwards along the ridge), put our crampons back on, and rejoined a waiting Tazz below. Trip out was uneventful, other than a few slow glissades in the sloppy, sliding snow.
Thanks to Tazz and Yana for putting up with me on my whacky adventures! It sure was nice to use all the equipment we brought for once
I love the winter shots from this trip since it is a hike i've done so often in the summertime. So, so different Nov-May! Nice trip report! But I'm almost more impressed that you went to the climbing gym afterwards. Are you all just physical freaks of nature? I'm interested if you have special tips or philosophies for taking care of your bodies that you can share. Especially dicey, your pace is relentless (trip after trip). Do you ever wear down? Do you hobble out of bed the next morning like the rest of us? Perhaps this deserves a thread of its own. Anyways, cool report!
Perhaps there should be a course on proper selection of pointy rocks for self-arrest.
My first time up Sahale, I didn't have an ice axe, so I carried two pointy rocks on a steep section and they stopped me rather well when I slipped.
The next time up Sahale, I brought an ice axe, but knew nothing about how to use it, so I tried dragging the pick while glissading and left the axe stuck in the snow a hundred feet above me when it immediately pulled out of my hand.
So, luck is helpful, but training really is better.
-------------- “As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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