– Through the green maze of the lowlands to the icy roof of our peninsula –
Now we really start climbing. Like slaves we labor up with our heavy packs. The air gets dryer and thinner, a wonderful tension seems to develop, we are getting closer.
At one place, only minutes before we reach the glacier, an avalanche had caused a massive landslide and the trail had been wiped out. The 45 degrees of hopelessly loose scree truly got our attention. With the heavy load on your back you can’t react like a gazelle, and if you slip, there is no stopping. Another avalanche came crashing down just when we were right in the middle of the crossing. On our way back we watched in horror how a poor fellow climber tumbled down this shoot. We found him seriously shocked, bleeding all over, but fortunately he could walk.
Up at Glacier Meadows we met a ranger – an attractive young woman. Of course, she knew about the problem. Material for a cable system to make this stretch passable again could not be helicoptered in because a certain species of birds are breeding there right now. Pretty good! I like it! To preserve nature in the park is more important than catering to some “bloody” humans who should have more respect and be more self reliant.
Finally I reach the rock and the summit block. The rest is technical rock climbing. Because of a flimsy snow bridge the so called Normal Route from the NE snow ridge seems dubious. As I always prefer to do, I take the “Diretissima”, straight up without deviation. I thoroughly enjoy it.
Once it was possible to ascend up this ice ramp. In recent years a monstrous gaping ‘Bergschrund‘ has opened up and made it extra challenging to take this route. (I like the ancient German word Bergschrund, which is a “wound in the mountain”.
The original ‘Olympus‘ is in Greece, it’s a gentle hill compared to this one. The ancient Greeks believed that the gods lived on their Olympus.
I had brought one beer and rolled it in my hand, and in a precious moment of not thinking I set it on the rock and left it there. A sacrifice to the gods? Yes and no, it is a little gesture I sometimes do since I once climbed the Matterhorn long time ago. I occasionally leave little gifts on high mountain tops for the next unknown idiot who comes struggling up and wonders: what fool has forgotten this here, great, I take it and enjoy it. A little gesture perhaps to myself, maybe a little melodramatic and theatrical, but no one knows, no one sees it the way I see it.
For more click here.
* * *
* * *
After 8 hours and 4000 feet up and down again, I’m back at the base camp. I join up with Parvin again, take a short rest, and we still descend down to the upper Hoh foot bridge the same day.
Back the long haul through the forest again the next day. I’m a little pooped, but the rain forest has its well known soothing effect. Exhausted but peaceful we reach the coast, the Pacific, the edge of the peninsula.
Klaus Aug 11. 2008