Snowfield Peak - Neve Glacier, December 2002 (by Paul Klenke)
Here we go again: another Indian summer climb of a major peak in the Washington Cascades. I'd like to say this excellent autumn weather is getting old. When will it start raining on a consistent basis so we don't have to hear local "authorities" fretting about drought possibilities for next summer? To quote from that Blues Traveler Mr. Popper, "But Anyway"... Sergio and I left Kirkland around 6:45AM after practicing our car shunting procedures in his apartment complex. Let's see: red Honda here, white Volkswagen there, red Toyota here. Oh, and don't forget to pop the parking brake! We made the usual food stop at Tom Sjolseth's favorite grocer--the Arlington Food Pavilion--before proceeding on our way to the trailhead. We forgot (or did we neglect?) to stop at the park service office in Marblemount to pick up a permit. Who's going to be up there but us? (Note: we didn't see anyone else for the whole climb.)
As is wont for Sergio, he was speeding his way along the North Cascades Highway when the trailhead suddenly appeared at a blind bend in the road. "Oh, here it is," I announced and so Sergio yanks the wheel over and cruises into the wide gravel strip that is the parking area across the road from the Pyramid Lake Trail (1,100 ft). So as to not lock up the brakes on the loose gravel, Sergio comes to a slow stop at the upper end of the strip-the farthest possible distance away from the beginning of the trail (about 120 yards). While he was slowing down, I was thinking he would throw the wheel over and backtrack to the opposite end of the strip so as to park directly opposite the beginning of the trail. I based this thought on experiences riding with him to Dome Peak, Vesper Peak, and Jack Mountain. On all of these, he had parked as close to--if not on top of--the worn path that fans out from the trailhead. But this was not the case this time, and this would come back to annoy us later (but I don't want to get ahead of myself). (more...)
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