OK, so it is not December 31. But the way things have been going lately, I doubt something else cool is going to happen in the mountains for me. So here it is.
Back in October, Ian asked Lori and I what our favorite climb of the year was. Lori and I had the discussion earlier and both felt it was Lost Charms. This is partially due to the independence that we each felt doing the climb as well as my performance on the day and my general attitude about the climb. Ian said if we separated the emotions involved what would we say. I've been thinking about this, and I am not sure it is possible to separate emotions from the climb, at least not for me.
Lost Charms was an interesting choice for me as a leading candidate for best of year, because Julie and I had a somewhat difficult approach and were about to head back to the car to head to Index or Leavenworth. Perhaps that is an element that made it great, overcoming that obstacle. However, I also feel that the climbing was fairly sustained, and it was my first time at Static Point and climbing that grade slab. I climbed flawlessly that day and did not have a concern for the time. Another aspect that may have made a huge mental (and obviously physical) difference was actually having lunch on time. The weather was great, and that always contributes to positive energy as well.
Sure there are other contenders. I would be remiss if I did not mention the 4-star routes of Outer Space, Dreamer, and Givler's Crack. All have various reasons perhaps for not being at the top of the list. Outer Space was mostly following for me, Dreamer we didn't finish, and Givler's was too short. As an additional element for losing the top spot, both Outer Space and Dreamer were a bit rushed feeling. Outer Space due to the late start and waiting behind other parties. Dreamer due to our fouled approach and the grade IV nature of the climb and the shortening October days. With little doubt, the fifth pitch of Outer Space was probably the greatest pitch I climbed all year. In 2009 I plan to revisit both of those routes, and will most likely have a different opinion.
Other "honorable mentions" could go to skiing the Muir Snowfield, Garibaldi Peak, The SW Face of The Tooth. For the Camp Muir ski, it would be considering I had only learned to ski 6 months prior. I felt that to be a major accomplishment. I doubt I will ever travel to Camp Muir on foot again. Garibaldi Peak for really trying something a little difficult in an absolutely beautiful area. Going to Garibaldi Provincial Park was great, and really amazing. I will definitely be heading back. The SW Face of The Tooth was great because it was doing a new route on a familiar peak. The climbing was fun, and the weather was great.
Here's to hoping for an equally tough list to chose from next year.
Fagin's Hike of the Week: Mt. McDonald
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