This was going to be my first climb so I was very excited. Our meeting point was Timberline Lodge close to midnight. When I got there our guide Doug Ironside was already there. I don’t remember the names of the other team members.
After we registered our names with the mountain rescue, we were ready. Registering names with the mountain rescue is required to keep track of the people attempting to climb. To make our life easier we took the snow cat ride up to about Silcox Hut.
After the ride we got our gear ready and started climbing. It was still dark so I put my head lamp on. You would think that it would be hard to find your way. But it was pretty amazing. There were so many people climbing that you could follow the foot steps from the people ahead of us. Not everybody was trying to get to the top, some people were just climbing to see how high they could climb. I am just guessing because they did not have the type of gear that you think would be needed. Actually some people were climbing with their skis (or snowboards) to ski down.
Taking a Break
When it was slowly getting lighter I noticed the shape that you see in the photo above. It was very peculiar, almost like a UFO. There is a better picture of it below.
After a while I finally realized what that shape was. It was the shadow of the mountain we were on.
Nev and Doug
Very early in the morning we got to the point called Devils Kitchen. It stunk badly because of the sulphur fumes coming from down below from the slopes to our west. We took a little break here.
We moved on and got to a point called Hogs Back as seen above. If you look at the first picture above carefully, you can see that the route goes straight up, then bears right (east), then continues up and becomes much steeper.
While we were taking a break, we heard people shouting and pointing. Apparently somebody slipped at the steeper part and on the way down they took with them anybody else below them. You can see in the second picture above that number of people were going down to help them.
On the way up
On the way up
At the top of the ridge, we turned towards east, and walked by a huge crevasse called Bergshrund. After we cleared the crevasse, the climb became steeper and harder. Once we got to the top of the shute, we could see the summit to our right. We spent some time at the summit and took pictures.
As you can see from the picture above, I was in pain most of the way up. I had a terrible stomach ache. It may have been because of the altitude or perhaps because of the sulphur fumes down below.
Normally we would take the same route on the way back, but perhaps due to the accident I mentioned earlier, we crossed the ridge you see in the picture above to further west and came down from there. The reason was that there were number of people in the shute, some climbing up some climbing down. Although the ridge above look dangerous, it was safer.
We were back at the Timberline parking lot by 11AM in the morning. This was a great climbing experience, and I enjoyed it.