some people call it dakobed; others call it glacier peak. for me, it's now YES! peak.
and a kiss
it's quite an amazing life i have, job or not, consistent pain in my hip or not, and any other fill-in-the-blanks or not. i'm a lucky guy and just multiplied that luck factor by an immeasurable amount!
hotpantz and i climbed YES! peak via the now-standard north fork sauk. it was a late seattle departure on friday, allowing us to reach the trailhead at 7:30p and start hiking ~7:45p. about half way to the mackinaw shelter, headlamps were donned. thankfully, she had an extra as mine was missing. d'oh!
we made it to the shelter area ~10:00p under crystal clear skies. set up the tent in what appeared to be the last spot available, made dinner, and went to an avy clearing to watch the meteor showers. i already felt the specialness of the trip.
next day, lazy start. out of camp ~7:15am. did the fun switchbacks in mostly cool air and a good breeze, which were both nice given the record-high setting forecasts. quickly, i noticed my heels were getting destroyed since i was borrowing a pair of hotpantz' boots while mine were in the shop. ouch. the pain was great for most of the trip, and it really took a lot of energy out of me to walk with all quads and no calves, but i knew i wanted this trip to be the trip i asked her to marry me. on we go!
around white pass, the flowers were starting to shine. i think they're still at peak. little did i know there'd be a veritable PCT-like trail leading towards YES! peak. sweet.
in awe of the flowers
reaching for the sun
a heart for us
off with the shirt!
dark, yummy water
had no idea this trail existed
a perfect blend
hotpantz and white river valley
gorgeous summer day
we see you
over the ridge and into the white chuck basin. amazing. IMV, this area totally trumps the enchantments, but only at the sacrifice of a huge glacier.
route finding didn't exist as there was either trail or footprints to follow. glacier gap brought more amazing views and a humbling sense of appreciation for the power of the mighty suiattle river, perhaps my most respected, so far, of all waterbodies in the cascades.
a new world over the ridge
looks dauntingly far away still
checking out the map with smiles
one of many stream crossing
a different kind of enchantments
multicolored lake at base of former whitechuck glacier
sloan presiding over us
all smiles, like always
more hearts for us
following snow to glacier gap
i'm smiling too
we roped up for all glacier travel, even though the route was reported to be excellent, which it was and still is. at this point, hotpantz literally dragged me up the mountain; she was strong and i was beat - likely a product of calve-less hiking and very painful feet.
at glacier gap, the route unfolds easily
trail on the ridge
hotpantz dragged me up the mountain this day
nearing the only crux - the snow bridge at the junction of cool and suiattle glaciers
still packed in pretty well
cool glacier crevasses
down towards suiattle river valley
lines every which way
fluting below the summit
looking back at route from disappointment/glacier saddle
the disappointment/YES! saddle was windy, but not sandpaper windy like the seven descending groups informed us. soon, we were atop this wonderful peak - a peak that seems to be, more often than not, my centerpiece area. if i've ever experienced a completely natural draw to anything in my life (besides hotpantz), YES! peak is it.
winds on the summit were stiff. reported campsites nearby were buried. we summited around 5:30p and sat for ~2 hrs before determining we should descend just a hundred or so feet to what looked to be a wind-sheltered area and flat-ish. it was just enough room for her tent; well, actually part of it was downsloping considerably, but where we actually slept was good.
running water for our future campsite!
sloan, pilchuck, and puget sound
white chuck valley
final steps to the summit
cool (near) and suiattle (far) glaciers
only sky remains
the sun led us to the exact point
no campsites up here
brr. i thought it was 90* in seattle
warming up the hands
three fingers and whitehorse
stuart and the bulk up the upper route
disappointment and saddle
combing the hair at 10000ft
smoke from the olympics, creeping in
food doesn't rehydrate as well at this elevation
me, starting to get nervous...
getting cold; time for sleeping bags with dinner and sunset
glacier peak's shadow
okay, really nervous now
the darkest red sky we've ever seen
i-5 corridor of the puget sound
as we ate, i struggled to find the courage to ask the question, not because of doubt or similarly flavored feelings, but because i wanted it to be perfect. but with fading light and falling temps, i knew it was time. bending on one knee on lose dirt and steep-ish terrain was, err, interesting. eventually i found my footing and the words.
the next 24 hrs until we returned to seattle were pure magic. no words can, nor should, be used to describe what we were feeling; they are deep and unique and beautiful.
the descent from the summit took us from ~9:30a to 7:30p, slowed by taking way too many pictures, a nice swim in the upper-most tarn in the white chuck basin area, torn up heels, talking to people, a dip in the north fork sauk, and rigging up orthotocrocs (crocs + orthotics). but, it's ok to be slowed sometimes, especially when you're spending it, one-on-one, with the person you care about most. we celebrated, again, with beers at the car while taking another dip in the north fork sauk.
it's too bright
not a bad deal to wake up and see my fiance amongst gorgeous mountains
tent view to the east
getting some water
a humble abode
farewell tent site
see ya, YES! peak
heading to disappointment peak with some nice crosswind
cakewalk to disappointment
now hotpantz is COOL too
dirty crevasses. they should really clean their crack
reluctant to head back to the land of green
now, to remember where we crossed exactly
a monster flying bug
laying down some boot tracks
i now better appreciate the power and beauty of the suiattle river and its headwaters
walking the ridge, now with less clothing
monte cristo range looking intimidating
examining the underground water source
small tarn mimicing the sky
we found a wand; now it looks like hotpantz is armed with an antenna
carving a turn
there's a spider coming right at me!
silty stream crossing
and now, a refreshing dip; we could feel the cold of the icy lake pouring onto us at this point
more boot skiing
back at the mackinaw shelter, taking a dip and cooling off for the last descent
yoga in the north fork sauk? nah, just icing the knee
taking off the boots and using crocs + insoles and velcro straps for the last 5+ miles of trail
a new best seller for sure
tree growing out of rock
all week long, leading up to this trip, this moment in our lives, i had one song embedded in my head:
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.
Ahh home. Yes I am ho-oh-ome.
Home is when I'm alone with you.
and it's true with hotpantz; i've known it ever since we met.
as she said that night: "live simply and love deeply"
-------------- man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?
Congrats! A small group of us were over in upper Leroy Basin looking at YES! Peak on Saturday night, admiring the sunset. I have a handful of shots from that day (day and one fuzzyish night sunset shot) if you want one from afar...
I'm pretty sure my friend and I were one of the parties who told you about the sandpapery winds above (they nearly blew me off the ridge!) You were just gearing up for glacier travel and my friend asked you how you liked your harness.
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