Mt. Washington (North Ridge)

September 2-3, 1995

This was a weekend when the summit of Mt. Washington belonged to the Obsidians. John Pegg led back-to-back climbs on Saturday and Sunday up this rugged and imposing volcanic remnant, putting a total of 10 climbers on the top for the first time. A weather system off the coast made the attempt at climbing risky, but Friday night the first group of climbers threw out their sleeping bags under a brilliant star-filled sky at the PCNST near Big Lake. Josh Ladau, who taught himself the summer constellations, gave an astronomy lesson. The Andromeda Galaxy was clearly visible to the naked eye.

We were on the trail by daybreak and made good time to the pinnacle, where the real climbing begins. A fixed line was used almost all the way to the summit, allowing a safe and quick descent in case of thunderstorms (which never appeared). Descending the scree slope, we could all look back at the mountain with a new sense of pride and accomplishment. Climbers on Saturday were Julia Sunkler, Deb Carver, Josh Ladau, Bill Johnson, Kobei Hatta and John Pegg (leader).

That evening, the second group arrived, full of anticipation and a little anxiety, as clouds moved in. But the next morning the sky was absolutely clear and we moved quickly down the Crest Trail and up the climbers’ trail to the North Ridge. Thanks to expert help from Doug Nelson and Karl Kreigh, a line was again fixed to the summit for safety. But everyone climbed with skill and confidence and there were no problems. It was nearly 80° F. at the summit and we spent almost 40 minutes relaxing and taking pictures. At the rappel spot above the saddle we had to wait as a large group (17) of Explorer Scouts from Corvallis belayed up. They avoided the legal wilderness group limit of 12 by filling out two permits (a good example for young Explorers!) As we descended to the treeline dark thunderheads were forming and we were glad for our early start. Climbers on Sunday were Doug Nelson, Karl & Melinda Kreigh, Larry & Judy Smith and John Pegg (leader).

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