Monday, May 31, 2010

Mt Si with 35lbs

or probably 40lbs. This was a long weekend, but weather had squashed all the plans. So I headed back to Mt Si. This time I opted to be brave and stuffed almost 35 lbs in my pack. I don't think I have ever carried more than 30lbs in any of my backpacking trips. And it totally showed. Even at the first mile, I was already tired and celebrating the quarter of way done. By mile 2, I was starting to doubt if I will make it, and I was playing with the idea of emptying half of the 5 gallon water. Then I told myself, the only difficult stretch is mile 2 - 2.5, rest is easy. So I went upto 2.5. I was doing 18 min per half-mile. After 2.5, there was no way I was going to give up. It actually became better after 3 mile, though the last section was getting really hard. I reached the peak in little under 2 & 1/2 hrs, what a disaster! I gave up at bottom of the rocky section, sat there and had my snack bar. It was strange that I did not see too many hikers with pack this time.
To make up for the shameful extra 20 min I took, I decided to hike down with same full pack. I really had to pace myself so as not to hurt my knees. Just one stop at the flat mid-way point and was down in well under 2hrs.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mt Si with 30 lbs

When it is rainy and cloudy and alone, I hike Mt Si for timepass :) This time I carried a 30lb pack. There were about 200 people at the trailhead and a group of high school boy scout something. I usually don't mind crowded trails, and definitely not when I am hiking alone. Though this time it was a nuisance. I started just about the time the scout group started. First they wanted to run, and overtake me, then like usually teenagers, lost all energy and I had to pass them all one by one. It was rainy, and still there were all lot of annoying young people on the trail, who have no idea that they are suppose to give way to folks going up.
After 3 mile, I started seeing snow. It was actually snowing there. A couple of slushy patches slowed my down a little. I made it safely to the top, and it was great, I was not tired at all, the pack seemed fine and I made it in 2hr 10min. It was a proper snowfall at the top, nothing to see. The rocks were covered in snow, so I decided to not scramble with my pack. My hands were getting numb and I could not find the stupid gloves. Somehow found the cap when I was almost about the cry and warmed my hands one at a time, while almost running down to get to lower elevation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Camp Muir

On this perfect and sunny day, we headed for Camp Muir. Some of us started at 4:00 in the morning to make it a day hike. I was somewhat apprehensive if I would be at my best given before 4:00 wake up and 2 & 1/2 hr drive. But I was fine, driving was ok and I was in good spirits when we started. I took the bold decision to not carry my snowshoes, and see how that goes. Since we had a early morning start, 7:00am snow was still packed ice. The first section was easy, I soon got comfortable walking on the snow and there were quite a few boot tracks to follow. Then came a very steep section. Luckily folks before us had already dug steps and I could follow it like stairs. I got a little stuck at the second tiny steep section, but managed to scale it. Rest of the way was not that hard. Soon we saw the Muir hut and that made it easier.

At the top, it was cold and windy. Temp was def below 0. It was hard to find a spot away from wind, but we found a rock and settled there to make hot chocolate. Spent close to 30 min at Muir before starting down. The plan was to glissade as much as we can, ahem! I started first couple of glissades apprehensively. It was ok on less steep slopes, but definitely glissading down steep slopes is not my thing. Snow was much softer now and we were postholing like anything. Somehow managed to slide, glissade, walk down to Paradise. Total time close to 8hrs.