Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gene's Peak 6.15.10

With the less than stellar forecast I was hoping that the Teanaway effect would be in full force. I was lucky enough to have Blane one of my co-workers sign on. True to form as we crested Snoqualmie Pass the weather cleared and the sun broke through. I did have some concern because I saw a few large thunderheads further East. I was dismayed by the condition of the North Fork Teanaway Road, it was a pot holed mess. I have been on this road many times and I have never seen it anywhere close to this poor of condition. Thankfully we finally reached the Iron Peak Trail. I wanted to use this trail to avoid any creek crossings. I have some not so fond memories of crossing both Bean Creek and Beverly Creek and wanted to avoid any chance of a repeat. We decided to pass on taking the snowshoes but I did stow my crampons just in case. The trail was in good shape as we made our way up the easy grade. We reached snow around 5200' and it soon became consistent. The snow slowed our pace along with my taking 6 weeks off from climbing. Soon we were at the saddle between Iron-Gene saddle. There was some sign of recent passage so I followed. We quickly left snow for some loose rock scrambling. I decided on the way up that I would prefer to find a different line for our descent. I found it interesting while I was doing my best to avoid rock, Blane clearly was steering towards it. Finally I dropped a small ways to allow me to access the snow field that lead all the way to the summit. Thankfully on snow again the pace again quickened and we were both on the summit. The views were great for what we could see. It appeared that we were in the only sun filled spot for some distance. I watched cloud bursts pound all the nearby peaks for the time we were on the summit and yet none were able to burst throught the Teanaway effect and we managed to be in full sun the entire day. After lounging for some time we decided to make our way down. I led us further East and soon we were cliffed out. Unwilling to admit defeat I climbed back up a short ways until I found a snowy ramp that led to a very glissadable gulley. After reaching the bottom we wove our way through some gulleys and loose scree. Finally we reached the bottom only to realize that we had to climb 500' back to the saddle. Now we were in full sun and it was getting warm. I couldn't help but think Blane was thinking why didn't we just come down the way we had come. To his credit when I broached the subject he just replied, that we both probably could use some extra conditioning. Once at the saddle we stopped for a short snack before the short descent to the car. I was surprised to see some fresh prints going down and in short order we crossed paths with those who had made them. A nice older couple out for a nice hike. A truly beautiful day to be out among some great company. On a curious side note, there seems to be some conjecture about Sherpa's Peak balanced rock in relation to the height of the true summit. Gene's Peak has a great view of it. I am mostly positive that the balanced rock is higher. I am not sure if this picture does a good job of showing it but it does seem apparent from the field.

Approx 9 miles 3500' of climb 5:30 car to car

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