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Author Topic: Ruth Mountain 6/20/08  (Read 1179 times)
brent grisim
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Ruth Mountain 6/20/08
« on: 06/22/08, 09:33 PM »

This climb was slow by all accounts.  Starting at about 1 mile from the trailhead, there was serious problems with the condition of the road.  For a high-clearance type of vehicle, this would not be a problem, but for the Passat, it was a nail-biter/carriage scraper.  We encountered snow several hundred feet from the trailhead and assumed that we could ski to the summit, so we left our hiking boots behind.  Unfortunately, the trail had melted out so that it was alternatingly clear trail or snow all the way to Hannegan Camp.  Hiking boots would have been a lot faster.  As we trudged along, my visions of the 2 feet of snowfall from the previous week escorting me to the car, drifted away into never-never land.

We only made 1 mile an hour to Hannegan Pass.  From there, the snow was extremely soft.  We tried to ascend with skins but could find no purchase during traverses so we abandoned the skis for a direct ascent.  Several times above and below Rest Rock, I noticed that I could push my ice-axe all the way to the head and feel no meaningful resistance.  The snow was very wet but yet, at the same time, strangely consolidated.  We observed evidence of fresh wet-slab avalanches on steeper slopes in the area.  However, on the Ruth Glacier route, the more gentle slope remained intact.

We toiled to the summit in 7 hours.  It was worth every drop of sweat.  I can honestly say that the turns reminded me a lot of water skiing.  The snow was pliable enough to stay together through the "cut".  Throwing up a "wall" just let me set up for the next transition.  It didn't take much effort to initiate turns and once started it was easy to stay with the skis to the end of the turn.  The snow was not corn.  It wasn't slush.  Maybe it was snotter or whoa.  Whatever it was, it was wonderful.

For less photos of skiing and more of the climbing, the Youtube link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY16hIHfw4Y



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