Monday, May 7, 2007

Mailbox Peak 5.7.07

Since my boots were in for a long overdue and much needed overhaul I was forced to pick something with no snow. I was short on time as well so that narrowed my possibilities to just a few climbs. I was hoping for a try for West Defiance (Pt. 4926) which is just SE of Mailbox Peak. I have been up Mailbox many times so knew the route well and I wasn't overly optimistic of success. I knew the traverse from the Mailbox Trail would be made much more challenging by my lack of proper footwear. I started the long grind up with some much warmer than expected temps. I always have a hard time acclimating to the warmer weather early in the season. I wasn't trying to set any land speed records as I made my way of the mostly clear trail. I have been walking on snow for so long now I had forgotten how much faster the elevation ticks off when you are on dry ground. I reached 4500ft and left the trail making a rising traverse towards my goal. I had some problems getting any purchase with my trail running shoes making me wish I had my boots. I reached the saddle between Mailbox and West Defiance and was forced off the ridge. My options were to drop steeply or backtrack. I decided that maybe this summit was best left for another day. I made my way back on the North side and popped out on Mailbox's summit. The weather was ideal and the views were 360 degrees. I am intrigued with the basin towards the SE. I could have easily dropped to the consolidated snow in the basin and made a snow ascent of West Defiance. This route would force more elevation gain but I am sure It would be much more enjoyable. I lounged for a while enjoying the nice sunshine. I was a little concerned with the descent because of the muddy conditions between 3000-4000ft but I managed to stay upright. Once I reached drier ground I picked up the pace running long stretches. I was very pleased that I would have made Mailbox in just under two hour if I had went straight instead of detouring. I managed to drop in less then 1:15. Mailbox if nothing else can be a good judge of one's fitness level. Just to put the icing on the day I again (this is occurring at a freaky rate ) won $50 on a scratch lottery ticket. Just to sweeten the day further I was able to make it back for the evening bite and had a wonderful evening on the lake.

Approx 6 miles 4100ft of climb 4 hours car to car

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