I'll start here...at the half-way point of the story.
We summited Sky Pilot!
There are few better feelings than standing on the summit of a mountain embraced by a friend.
But this isn't where the story starts....
The goal was Sky Pilot
It's an alpine peak taking 6000 ft. of elevation gain over every type of terrain with an ascent time of 6.5-8 hours and a descent time of 5-7 hours (we did it in 9.5 hours car to car).
photo, courtesy of www.summitpost.com
My story with this mountain started 8 years ago.
Over the last 8 years I've tried 2 other times to summit...and both times were turned around.
The first try -- car troubles on a logging road
The second try -- white-out conditions
But it started out with a question mark.
RAIN. And loads of it.
We were soaked.
Alpine climbing in the rain is dangerous -- wet granite slabs...ewwww.
But eventually the rain lifted and so did the mist...and the warm weather began to dry out the rock...
We finally got into the alpine and were greeted by a beautiful sanctuary.
We kept getting closer and closer....keeping an eye on the weather. We didn't want to get caught by the day's unstable weather conditions.
And finally...after a lot of work.
3rd time was a success. It felt good to finally do this summit after 8 years of it "being there staring at me" reminding me of my previous failures, every time I did other stuff in the area.
After 15 minutes on the summit...it was time to get a move on.
Descending takes a long time...especially in this type of terrain.
But what has gone up....must come down.
So we took the time we needed concentrating on being efficient but cautious.
For blog readers who found this blog searching or Sky Pilot information...the glacier was in good condition (September 2013). It was very hard and compact, sun capped, and steep in places (making cutting steps a challenge). Mountaineering boots and ice axes are necessary. We were glad to have ours.
After a while the glacier mellows out and its a LONG descent through a moraine.
Looking back at Sky Pilot after a long day of hiking and climbing was satisfying.
When I got home...my family had given me a gift!
I returned the favour with flowers I had picked on the descent.
It's always good to be home.
These are good days.