July 20th, 2009
Earlier this season Lu and I went for a day in the mountains as the next phase of the Alpine Education.
Ingall’s Basin was still full of snow so our approach shoes quickly became soaked. I’d chosen ski poles because they help with cross-country travel but wanting to save weight, I left the ice axes. I was a bit regretful when we hit the basin for I saw how much snow was piled up below the East Ridge of Ingall’s Peak. We made fairly quick work of the traverse and from a slab below the peak I asked Lu what her thoughts were on the East Ridge approach. “Too steep with snow” she said. Remembering her first experience with an ice axe (which we didn’t have this time) was only a month prior, I agreed. So we turned to the South Ridge.
We climbed the greasy olivine-encrusted face (if I’m remembering my mineralogy correctly) and were soon on the summit. From here we could see Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, the unmistakable profile of Sloan and, just across the basin, one of my favorite peaks: Mt. Stuart. Lu found the exposure thrilling but when we got back to Seattle she asked me “Why do we have to walk so far for three pitches of 5.7?” She had a point. I’m not sure she’s sold on this alpine thing…yet.
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