I'll keep the tradition of posting before the end of the year again. Although with one weekend left, and no partners I feel pretty safe typing this now.
This year brought me out on lots of trips, but unfortunately not nearly as many as last year. I think this is once again due to lack of partners willing to do similar objectives. Or perhaps lack of partners with similar time freedom. I have a number of friends who complained about the weather, but I remember it being really nice for climbing most of the year, and a great summer for snow, ice and skiing with the not so warm temps and lack of precip.
This year I got a lot of new climbs in. Plenty of objectives I wasn't specifically planning on or wasn't really on the list for this year. Some trips were repeats, and some were on the list and I can now check them off.
Two events that stick out in my memory were trips to other states. First in February when a group of us visited Hyalite Canyon in Montana to ice climb for a long weekend. This was a pretty memorable trip and lots of fun considering the general lack of consistent quality ice in Washington State. The other trip was going out to City of Rocks to crag for another long weekend with Sabrina, Anne and Rod. That trip was a really fun time and a fairly new experience for me having never been there before. (And the long drive to crag for a few days.)
Other standouts are getting to climb Orbit in Leavenworth and Skiing South Sister and Bachelor in Oregon. And it probably goes without saying that climbing a classic like Liberty Ridge is on the list as well. In addition, the North Face of Mount Buckner was a nice trip and gave me a whole new perspective on the Cascade Pass area. Other notable climbs would be the winter ascent of The Tooth, and the lowly Mount Ellinor in the Olympics.
I just don't feel like I had a stand out this year. Some trips were wonderful and very memorable. Some were great purely due to the company I kept. Where did I shine? It is hard to say.
I'm inclined to say Liberty Ridge was the highlight of the year. But is that because it is a "50 Classic?" It was a great climb and a fun challenge, but left me feeling like it was too easy. I'll immediately discount the trip to Hyalite as I was sick and did not have the greatest time due to that. City of Rocks was really fun and a great time with great friends. But I also didn't feel like I climbed that well when we were there, and truthfully I wish I climbed more while we were there.
I think I am going to say the best trip of the year for me was to Bachelor and South Sister. [This marks the second year in a row I picked skiing a volcano.] Once again stuck without partners, I made the most of a situation. The weather was great, and I successfully summited both peaks on skis. Sure the skiing wasn't great, but it was more about the challenge of doing it and going alone that enhanced this experience. The solitude of having the summit crater to myself on top of South Sister was fantastic and an experience I'll never forget. Not relying on anyone else to have fun and be in the mountains is great, and is something I have to try not to overlook in the future. Cheers to not having partners and to a year that will be as productive as the last!
Route Profile - Kautz Glacier
3 hours ago