Silver Peak - West Face/North Slope, February 2008
"My goddam toes are going to be beat to a pulp after this garbage" I bitched to Andy. Why I didn't listen to my own advice and bring a pair of crampons I don't know. Above me, Andy was making steady, toe-friendly progress cramponing up the frozen West Face. What was I doing here? The tips of my well-worn modified PMBs were barely breaking the surface after repeated kicks, my feeble aluminum axe good for little more than balance. I needed to escape to softer snow.
Across the valley, the east slopes of Humpback Mountain were literally baking in the late morning sun. For sure there was soft snow to be found there; dangerously soft snow as evidenced by the numerous slide paths we had traversed over while skinning up the valley earlier in the morning. I would have happily traded that soft, and potentially unstable snow for deliverance from the pain and suffering. I kicked a couple more steps, grimaced and stopped for another rest. Glancing down into the crater-like Lake Annette, my eyes were drawn up towards the long ridge extending northward from Abiel Peak. Somewhere along that ridge was the summit of Humpback Mountain; the very summit from which I first spied today's enterprise - West Face of Silver Peak. (more...)
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