Last weekend, with what finally looked like a break in the nonstop weather forecasts of stormy weekends, I made my traditional first trip of the season over Cottonwood Pass and into Miter Basin. Oddly enough, in all the times I've been up there, I've never made it passed Sky Blue Lake; in fact, I never have even made it to the other side. But this time I did. Here's a view from the far (north) end of the lake:
I then traveled, gaiter-less, over the snow up to Crabtree Pass. Given this advanced state of preparedness, I end up with soaking wet socks and feet, but it was worth it. Here are some pictures on the way up to the pass.
View northwest from top of pass:
Mt. McAdie is particularly impressive. I thought about trying to climb it, but I think the chute runs into a deadend, and people generally climb it from the other side.
Next day was a dayhike into the Siberian Outpost and Boreal Plateau, which I always think of a desert in the sky. First, Siberia:
The Boreal Plateau (there was a great sky, not so great the next day!):
The last (4th) day, I aimed to circle back out over New Army Pass, bagging Langley for the umpteenth time along the way. I was in for a surprise. The same high fluffy clouds that were so alluring the day before were back for vengeance.
It was one of the most amazing weather patterns I've ever seen. Much of the day, about 2/3 of the sky would be brilliant sunshine, and the other part clouds of doom.
Schizophrenia over Joe Devel (I think) peak:
Anyway, I got to within about 15 minutes of the top of Langley when a nasty front started heading at me, so I turned around and scooted down. Along the way, it looked like the world was coming to an end.
However, the bigger surprise was that I couldn't get over New Army. Literally 15 people were milling around the top, looking lost. And when I looked over the edge I saw why.
The pass had become an impasse. So I had to head back down to Rock Creek and go out the way I came in, over Cottonwood Pass. The only time it rained/hailed hard enough to convince me to get out my emergency poncho (which takes about 5 minutes to unfold and insert head, arms through without tearing to pieces), the rain stopped by the time I actually got the poncho on. It was a much longer day than expected, but a terrific trip. (And for the iPod haters, I only used mine for the last 45 minutes, when I thought I was about to expire. )
The rest of the pictures are here:
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Great TR, I just got back from a 4 day trip to the exact same area this afternoon. New Army was a little dicey this morning, but there are now steps kicked in, and is fine as long as the snow is soft. Sorry you had to turn around, that climb out of Rock Creek is harder than it looks on paper. Also, I've read that the chute to McCadie does go to the summit, although I haven't made it myself.
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