9 climbers gathered at SEHS for one of the Climb School graduation climbs. Most were graduates doing their first mountaineering summit. Amazing weather was forecast and all were excited to put their new climbing skills to the test. We piled into two vehicles and headed up Hwy. 58 to the trailhead. Snow on the road prevented us from driving clear to the trailhead but we were able to get within a few hundred yards. Several other cars were already there including Sue Sullivan's who was leading another grad climb with a smaller faster group. We also greeted fellow Obsidians Wayne Deeter and Julie Polhemus who were there for a ski ascent. Snow began to cover the trail about 1/2 mile up into the forest, but a well-used track was easily followed. Good views of the peak began to open up once we reached the plateau and the snow was still firm enough to avoid putting on the snowshoes.
Unfortunately one climber began feeling ill and soon was unable to continue. Thankfully Rick volunteered to take the ill climber back to the vehicles so that the rest of the team could go on with the climb. As we prepared to send Rick and the ill climber back we were passed by several members of Eugene Mountain Rescue on skis along with their dogs. As the snow was softening up we also opted to put on our snowshoes before continuing.
Once on the ridge we made faster time up to the false summit and greeted other climbers on their way down. All of us were appreciating our good quality snowshoes with heel lifters on the steep areas. There were a few icy spots as we made our way across the ridge but the snowshoes gripped well and we left them on all the way to the summit.
It was a blast watching the smiles on everyone's faces as they took in the stunning views on their first summit. The team took time to remove snowshoes, eat, reapply sunscreen, and take lots of pictures before we headed back down. We were able to glissade occasionally but soft snow prevented us from getting far or fast. Once below tree line we stopped occasionally to check the compass as many tracks from other groups covered the area. Soon we were back on the trail and made quick time back to the cars arriving about 9.5 hours after we had began. The team took a moment to sing Happy Birthday to Jessica and headed back to town.
It was a great time with a group of eager and enthusiastic climbers. Thanks again to Rick Harris for "taking one for the team" so the rest of us could finish the climb. Leader: Danni HarrisMembers: Danneille Harris, Erin Noble. Nonmembers: Liz Hurkes, Jessica Kieras, Jason Winiarski, Ivan Paskalev, Meghan Horne-Brine. Members: Rick Harris, Michael Quigley.
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