great trip, easier than expected. i plan on returning in better weather.
the road to trailhead is bumpy, but passenger cars seemed to make it alright.
we hiked the gold run pass trail until it overlooked yellow aster lakes and then followed the path down to the lakes where we filled water. we walked around the lakes and then ascended the trail up to the ridge. we followed the trail mostly on the ridge. at one point just before the false summit we descended a little and traversed the trail below and climber's right of the ridge. we were soon traversing a little easy snow with an excellent run-out that led to near the false summit. i descended from the false summit and waited for our group. they were gearing up on the false summit. i put on my harness. from the gap, the route up looked a lot harder than class 3. it looked class 5! i got bored waiting for the rope, so i walked over to get a closer look at the route. with each step i took, the way up looked more doable. soon i was on top of the part we were planning on belaying! the rock was solid and the route was easy, but exposed class 3. the folks with the racks walked over looking all dressed up with no place to go as everyone just followed me up. even the most timid of our party ascended and descended without a belay. i'll tell you. this was really fun ascending and route finding. each step was like turning the page in a great mystery novel. the route looks near impossible when looking directly at it. but like a lot of gullies, they look steeper until you reach them. reaching the top was almost a disappointment, because the routefinding was so much fun. the weather which we were hoping would break never did. but we did run into summitroute's guidebook author on summit. he is a nice guy. a side trip to yellow aster butte will have to wait for another day :>)
equipment: helmet, on this day no ice axe was required, but would be useful earlier in the year
Exposure is not my friend. I've been to the base of the scramble a few times and always decided that was far enough for me. It's good to see you had success. And you have some great photos to prove it.
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