Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcoming Spring on Red Mountain - 3/20/2010

After an easier stroll on Rampart Ridge last weekend, we were bound to do something more challenging and with weather being on our side, we decided to give Red Mountain a try.

The snow was packed hard all the way through Commonwealth Basin where we started our adventure. The basin was very pretty with a creek peacefully bubbling through, waterfall crushing down the rocks on the side, and many beautiful snow formation. The route gave us plenty of time to warm up on an easy (but rather slippery) terrain before we started to gain noticeable elevation.

Once we reached the ridge at the end of the basin, the workout started. It was uphill from there all the way to the top. There was a sign of a trail for a while but whoever left the footprints gave up pretty soon and from there we followed the ridge up breaking trail and some sweat.

Some parts of the route were softer than others but luckily we did not run into any serious postholing and rather comfortably booted our whole way up. (It's kind of interesting to see how crampons are getting so much use this season while the snowshoes could as well be in hybernation).

Once we broke from the more heavily forested part of the ridge, with the more open area came the views. First it was Mt. Rainier that popped into view and watched our back as we proceeded further up. Than all the other surrounding mountains showed their winter beauty and the higher we were, the more breathtaking the views became.

The day could not turn out better. The sky was clear blue, the air was filled with hot rays of the sun making it trully feel like the first day of spring.... and it felt so incredibly good to march up just in our base layers feeling the hot breeze touching our skin.

Then we found ourselves facing the last challenge of the ascend. From down below, it was a horrifying view. The slope was mostly open but due to a low avalanche danger safe to climb today so this was just a little concern. What made us go: "Hmmmmmmmmmm" was the angle in which the route led up. Hesitantly we summened our energy and set out to conquer the last part of the trip. The slope was trully steep but in the end kicking steps surrounded by all the amazing views did not seem that bad at all.

Finally we reached the summit which offered not only some more stunning views but also pretty neat lunch spot... if only it was not for the surprisingly cold wind that blew up there reminding us that despite balmy hot weather most of the time, it is still winter time here in the mountains.

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