Cadet Peak - North Face (attempt), November 2001
After much discussion on what to climb in the Mountian Loop area, Dave and I settled on the second tallest peak in the Monte Cristo Group - Cadet Peak. Always keen on exploring new (to me) routes and approaches, I convinced Dave to approach the mountain via Goat Lake instead of Glacier Basin as I had not been that way before. We awoke to a crisp fall morning at the trailhead, hopped on our bikes, and rode the next 5+ miles along what used to be a wagon road to where the trail begins to climb steeply and travel by bike becomes difficult. We stashed our bikes in the forest and hiked up to Goat Lake. Cadet Peak rose majestically from the other side of the lake, seemingly so close and yet as we were soon to find out still so unbelievably unattainable.
We followed the somewhat sketchy and brushy trail around the left side of the lake and soon reached the other end. Here we immediately lost the trail, or none existed, and the most unpleasant bushwhacking experience of all time was to be had. We slowly worked our way through a sea of slide alder heading to our right towards the opposite side of the valley where we could see large boulders. We hiked up, down and around the moss-covered boulders, followed a creek bed, and eventually reached open terrain again.
We had wasted a large portion of the day bushwhacking and there simply wasn't enough time to climb Cadet Peak anymore. Now what?! We decided to check out the snow remnant tucked away at the very end of the valley. As we approched the snow we began to see large ice caves and huge vertical ice walls. I just happened to bring a secondary ice tool with me and decided to try out some ice climbing. We chose a relatively small but mostly vertical pitch to climb first. I placed a couple of screws on the initial ascent and flailed my way up to the crest. I set up a top rope then walked down the backside and belayed Dave up on his first attempt.
We climbed several short lines before calling it a day. The hike back out through the slide alder was about as bad as the hike in. Adding insult to injury, I also later found out that I had lost my gear pouch which I stupidly strapped to the outside of my pack. Assuming that I had lost it somewhere in the brush, there was simply no way in hell that I was going to go back and start looking for it. So that makes Cadet - 2 (for the failure and loss of gear), Sergio - 0. A fear a rematch might be in order...
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