Del Campo Peak - Gothic Basin, November 2001
I ventured twice in November of 2001 into Gothic Basin, first as an afternoon hike and later as an attempt on Del Campo Peak. Given that it was already mid-November, I encountered fresh snow part way up the trail and required snowshoes to reach Gothic Basin proper. Perhaps the most memorable experience from either of the two outings was when I encountered a seemingly petrified bear cub clinging to a tree trunk no more than a few yards away from me. At first I was like "oh, look how cute he is...", that is until it occurred to me that its mother couldn't have been very far away. At that point I did what any sane person would do and got the heck away from the cub as fast as possible.
I ascended Del Campo's main east-tending ramp, turned right, and climbed into an obvious gully. The snow in the gully had turned to ice and steepened to about 45 - 50 degrees at the very end. Once reaching the narrow saddle I looked for a safe route over rocks to my left in order to gain the final ridge the summit. A short vertical step had to be surmounted, but not with crampons on. Unfortunately, taking the crampons off wasn't an option either as without them I would instantly slip and fall down the gully. So, I carefuly retreated back down the gully and explored my options over the rocks to the left of the gully. In the end I gave up on my many attempts as the thin layer of alternating slushy and icy snow provided little purchase on the deceivingly steep rock face. Next time!
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