September 24-25, 2010
A week prior to this climb I looked out my window at a wet gray day, checked the long range weather forecast, and emailed the group to say things did not look good for our scheduled climb. Things can sure change in a week! This is the second time I have led this trip as a night hike, ascending the mountain under a full moon with the goal of watching the sun rise from the summit. And the weather could not have been better.
A last minute cancellation brought our party size to five. We drove to the Diamond Rockpile trail head, arriving well after dark. The moon shown brightly as we hiked into Marie Lake. Our planned camp site at the east end of the lake was occupied so we circled to the other flat area at the west end of the lake and bivouacked under the trees for a few hours of sleep before heading on up the south ridge. We were out of camp at 3:00 a.m. Wayne led us (more or less) north through the trees and up the mountain. Anyone who has ever climbed in the Oregon Cascades has probably made a few unfavorable comments about the quality of those crumbling slopes. But despite the constantly loose footing I enjoyed the climb very much.
The moonlight on the mountain lends an ethereal quality that is quite enchanting. Both Bistra and Roy had brought small tripods and spent some time taking low light photos of the rocks, trees and sky. As we progressed our party split into “fast” and “slow” groups, staying in radio contact as needed. The fast group brought the team success in our stated goal of sunrise from the summit. Slow party took in the same tremendous spectacle from the false summit, then joined our friends on the top a bit later.
We all had a fine leisurely break on top (though Wayne could not resist tagging a couple more high points north along the ridge from the summit while the rest relaxed) then headed back down the mountain, greeting several other parties we passed as they ascended. We did a little exploration on the way back down to the lake, following the climber's trail a bit to the east to intersect the PCT. Then it was back to camp to pick up our bags and hike at an easy pace to the car.
Thanks to all who joined me on this beautiful and most satisfying outing! Everyone's companionship was greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Wayne whose help as co-leader is invaluable and to Sue who provided comfortable transportation for all.
Climbers were Sue Carey, Wayne Deeter, Bistra Hristova, Roy McCormick and Doug Nelson, leader.