Santiam Alpine Club

 Activities  Mountain Climbing Instruction 


June 1 to June 2, 2018

Coordinator: Andy DeGregorio

Summit Altitude: 11259 feet
Elevation Gain: 5400 feet
Round-trip Distance: 8 miles
Excursion Time: 12 hours (car-to-car)

Dan, Ben, Mark and I started from the climber's hut just after midnight, Ben skinned up to the top of Palmer while the rest of us walked, but we stayed together. Leaving his skis, Ben discovered his ski boots weren't all that comfortable, but we continued on up the mountain, putting on crampons as the snow got icier, and getting to crater rock as the sky began to lighten. There were some crowds forming, and a few groups already going through the gates by headlamp as we got ready for the technical section, leaving our poles and getting out our axes. We crossed some cracks to get up to the hogsback, which was lined up perfectly for the gates. Ben had to tape up his feet to deal with his boots, but then we were ready. The bergshrund was open but we didn't have to traverse very far right to get around its right side, and the left gate was in great shape, with a firm boot pack and a shallow angle. We didn't need a second tool, but it still made it easier and feel more secure. Ben's crampon came off as he got close to the top, but he was able to get it back on without much issue, planting his axes as anchors and clicking it back on. We summitted a little after sunrise, enjoyed the beautiful view, talked to some friends we had made on the way up, and merged into a larger group, coordinating our way back down the gates without blocking the way for climbers still going up. We took our time getting down to the hogsback, where we rested and enjoyed some snacks while sunscreening up, then descending to devils kitchen to get our poles, remove our technical gear, and start the slog down. Ben skied down much faster than we walked, but we all eventually arrived back at the climbers hut, where we signed in and went our separate ways. It was a great climb, some of the best conditions I've seen on the mountain. We got up in about 6 hours, and down in about 4, for a total climb time of around 10. Congrats to Dan and Ben on their first summit, and to Mark on his ... countless-th summit!

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