Tuesday, June 05, 2007

4:00 AM we left to go up to the trail head. We hit the trail head (Climbers Bivouac) after picking up our climbing passes by 7:00 and were hiking by 7:30. We soon hit snow and were slushing our way through that for 2.1 miles at an elevation gain of 1000 feet. From there on we were above the tree line and climbing in snow and loose pumice and gravel. It was like climbing sand dunes. From the tree line it was another 3.1 miles to the crest (don't think I'd call it a summit as that'd been blown off :) at a gain of another 3065 feet. A thousand feet/mile is bad enough but the loose gravel and snow made it quite a bit harder. Toward the top my quads started to cramp up, that hurt, but a little stretching and I was on my way again. I found a lady bug close to the top and brought it the rest of the way. I reached crest at noon and blew the lady but off my finger for good luck, rather than flying it plummeted down into the depths of the steaming crater. Good luck either way I suppose. The volcano gods accepted the sacrifice and let me down without mishap. Sliding (Glissading) down the mountain was fun. I got going pretty fast and was just enjoying the scenery when I realized I was heading down the wrong side of the mountain. I got my self back on track and hit the tree line at the correct spot. I didn't see many people on my "special" path down the mountain, it's awesome being the only one on a mountain, though I admit not that safe. I soon hit the tree line and started the long walk through the forest. It made me wonder if I'd taken the wrong trail after all. The old "seems a lot longer on the way back" thing seemed ultra long this time. I'd spent about an hour on the mountain and got back to the train head around 2:30 so the sliding really sped up the return trip. It was a fun climb.
A view of Spirit Lake with Mount Ranier in the background. The beige around the lake are hundreds of trees blown off the mountain during the eruption.
Mount Adams in the background
The crater, still venting. The best was the big rocks that would tumble down into the crater and echo off the walls. Also the lava dome is growing so boulders would shift and fall. It was a cool sound of tumbling rocks.

5 comments:

michael nielsen said...

So who was with you? Looks and sounds fun. I want to do Conness again. Maybe in August. I have the whole month off and maybe Joseph can come up as well as dad and Josh. Matthew has school.

michael nielsen said...

One more question, were you not allowed to go into the crater or was in not possible with out gear? A pumice stone from the crater of an active volcano would be cool.

aarastas said...

The crater and lava dome is off limits. I think it'd be easy to get there from Spirit Lake. Though with huge boulders moving around and steam vents blowing to many people would probably get crushed and cooked.

SFNielsens said...

Very cool Aaron! Glad you finally got to cross that adventure off your list.

meghan said...

That part about the lady bug is so funny to me! I love it. I'm glad you weren't crazy enough to go exploring in the crater! Good job on climbing the mountain. I'm jelly!