Mt. Washington

September 17, 2000

Looking at the sky Saturday evening upon arriving at the PCNST access just above and east of Big Lake, I had my doubts about the weather forecast for the next day. I couldn’t even see Hayrick Butte just two miles away. People kept arriving long after I had retired to my tent. About 2:00 a.m. the brightness of the moon awoke me, and I felt a lot better about the next day. Wake-up call was at 6:00; at 6:10 the group departed for the mountain. About an hour down the Crest Trail we passed the trail from the Big Lake campgrounds. We stopped a little way down the trail to shed some clothing and suddenly a group came up from Big Lake. They were friendly and decided to stay behind us up the North Ridge. About three hours from the trailhead we arrived at the north face of the summit pinnacle. The morning sun had warmed the rock, which made climbing much more enjoyable. A static line was set from the saddle to the rappel point above the lower chimney, and the group prusiked and climbed to that point. The group scrambled up the next 50 ft. At that point another fixed line was set to the summit and the entire group was on top by a little after 11:00. I have now been blessed twice with spectacular weather on this summit; 70° and a mild breeze with not a cloud in sight. Views from Mt. Jefferson to Mt. Thielsen, and Mary’s Peak to the Ochocos. This mountain has a certain mystique to it that makes it seem foreboding and inaccessible. This day we celebrated Dick Snyder’s 10th Peak, and the satisfaction of a peak showing us its best face. Fixed lines were set up back to the rappel point. All climbers arrived back on the North Ridge by 2:00 p.m. A trip down the scree field, cleaning of boots, and a 2½-hour trip back to the trailhead ended the climb at 5:00. This was a special treat for me (my first lead on Mt. Washington) and a great group of Obsidian climbers: Chris Miller, Mark Slipp, Peggy Lee Mathes, Dick Snyder, assistant leader and safety man John Pegg and leader Bill Johnson.

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