Monday, September 1, 2008

Kaleetan 9.1.08

I managed to get a earlier than expected start time so at least I wouldn't have to run the way out. I knew being on the popular Denny Creek trail on a holiday would be dicey with the dogs, so they stayed stowed at home. I had hoped for some nice sunny weather but that wasn't to be. I sometimes wonder why I carry so much stuff when I go. Today was a good example why. I used most of my foul weather gear and still was a bit chilly. I left the trailhead about the same time as another couple and I paced them the entire way. Upon reaching Melawka Lake I found the trail to the privy and was off. I easily found the branch that is the climber's trail and was surprised in the condition of it. It was easy to follow and except for one short section was not as steep as expected. It does make quick work of the elevation gain. I soon crested Pt. 5700 to find a group waiting. Because Kaleetan was hiding in the clouds and only briefly coming out to be seen they were considering on turning back. I dropped to the West side of the ridge. The drop to the talus field below was the crux of the trip for me. The trail down was steep and very slippery. By the time I was halfway down Kaleetan broke out of the clouds. I was amazed that how imposing it looks. Had I not read any reports I would have thought it above my ability. I watched a solo climber making his way up the last 500' without issue which buoyed my confidence. I watched a black bear running back in forth above him. Initially thought it was his dog but soon realized it was not. The traverse was easier and quicker and soon I was making my way up. I dropped pack at the summit block and easily picked my way to the summit. I was able to make it in 3:45 which was quicker than anticipated. I chatted briefly with the lone climber and was off for the descent. Overall the descent was easier than expected and I found myself back at Melawka lake. The cloud ceiling had lifted so I snapped some quick pictures. I had to contend with the hordes on the way out. I easily saw more people in this one day hike than the last 2 years combined. I made it home in plenty of time to make my night's plans. Despite the weather it was a very memorable day.

Approx 10 miles 4700' of climb 7:30

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