Mt. Washington

August 24, 1996

On the evening of August 23 a group of Obsidians and friends gathered near the Pacific Crest Trail crossing of the old wagon road near Big Lake. As night drew on we watched the clouds gather and lightning play about us in the darkening sky. But the electrical storm brought only a few sprinkles of rain and the clouds finally dissipated early in the morning as we hiked south on the PCNST toward Mt. Washington. Our group of six was joined by three late-comers who, after a strong effort, caught us in the saddle where the climbers’ trail crests the north ridge. From there we could see several fires to the east and the spreading haze of smoke from others to the south. The ascent of the ridge went well despite its steepness and areas of loose rock and scree. The summit pinnacle, too, was attained without incident, climbers protected by fixed lines and all moving well up the vertical and near-vertical rock. A successful summit on a balmy summer day is always satisfying, and all were moved by the place and awed by the immense column of smoke growing to the south and east near Sisters. After lunch on top we began the descent: down climbing, rappelling and “running scree” while kicking up clouds of dust at our feet to complement the thickening haze above us. By mid-afternoon we were far down the mountain which rose behind us, bathed in the strange light of the sun shining blood red in the smoke-filled sky. Climbers were: John Pegg, Brian Hoyland, Seth Defoe, Henry Turner, Will Jenkins, Richard Lemon, Karen Platt, Sierra Demo and Doug Nelson (leader).

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