Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Iron Peak (Teanaway) 6510'

I had an unexpected day free so I thought I would give the foot a truer test. I had hoped to do Lennox but with the poor weather and being a bit ambitious or the first time back I decided to do something a bit less taxing. I hoped the weather to be better in Teanaway and since I love the area in Spring I thought it to be a good bet. Originally I had hoped to tag Volcanic Neck and Devil's Head but my later than normal start prevented doing that. I decided that I would just do Iron Peak even though I have done it a few times before. I figured the trail would be mostly snow filled and I really wanted to spend some time on snow. I was happy to find sunny weather albeit very windy as I parked at the Iron Peak Trailhead. I liberally applied sunscreen to ensure I wouldn't be emblazoned with some painful memories. I really didn't know what to expect with both my healing of a torn tendon in my foot and more so with my fitness level. The foot gave me no issues and I was pleased to find my legs better than expected. Around 5000' I hit consistent snow and switched to snowshoes although they probably weren't needed. I felt like since I brought them I should probably use them.

   I purposely kept a slow even pace and just took the path of least resistance because the trail is still buried under over 3' of snow. I soon made it to the last steeper push to the saddle between Iron and Gene's Peak. The wind was howling along the ridgeline so I was very thankful that I had packed for this. I layered up with a third shirt and my windbreaker, gloves, and a stocking cap. I started South along the ridge trying to stay as far West as I could to avoid tempting the dog to wander over to the huge cornices that line the Eastern edge of the ridge. Once reaching the summit I tried to find a windless spot without success, but I did linger to glance over the many entries in the summit register. After signing the register I decided to head down looking for more comfortable conditions. Instead of retracing my steps I headed more West and plunged stepped down to the basin below. I did take off my snowshoes at the summit which provided a tense moment when I punched through awkwardly and couldn't get my foot out. I feared it was wedged between some rocks but after some gymnastics moves to get my self in a position that I could dig it out it thankfully was freed. Once in the basin below I found the a tree well to have lunch and soak up the last of the waning sun. The stiff wind was blowing in the next system and it even started to snow for a short time. Soon I was back to the car and thankfully the foot felt reasonably well. Hopefully tomorrow will not reveal any further issues. It was very good to back out. I have been on the bench for the longest stint of my adult life.  As I listened to the Mariner's game on the drive home it hit me how much I love being able to get out and all the satisfaction that it entails.

Approx 6 miles 2600' of climb 4 hours car to car

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