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Mount Washington, North Ridge Route

Seven climbers - Bobby Solonika, Craig Faiman, Greg Swanson, John Solonika, Larry Eisenbach, Paul Solonika and Robert Wagner - headed up Mount Washington Saturday. Most camped Friday night at the PCT north of Big Lake. But before dusting our boots Saturday morning we drove south to park in a wide spot on the road just north of the Seventh Day Adventist Camp on the east side of the lake. From there we hiked through the camp and on connecting trails to the PCT, which saved 1.2 miles from the round trip compared to starting north of Big Lake.

There was no wind on the pitch. We could actually hear belay commands and responses without having people relay them, an unusual situation in my Mount Washington experiences. It was a crowded summit filled with Chemeketans, Mazamas, SACsters and others. There was some waiting. But all the groups were cooperative so we made better time than might have been the case. The lack of wind did not help on the summit, which was buzzing with insects. We stayed there only long enough to get photos, then retreated a short distance to a less bug-infested spot. Robert waited on the saddle below the pitch while the others went to the summit.

On the descent we took the path that traverses the scree field and connects back to the same climbers' trail that gains the ridge. We overtook a group of climbers that descended ahead of us, so apparently the route was a bit faster than going back down the ridge. Certainly the scree field traverse is the more direct route back to Big Lake than going west down the scree field, then north again on the PCT.

The trip was notable for a number of painful improbabilities of little consequence. Two climbers were stung by bees near where the climbers' trail meets the PCT. One climber experienced a momentary partial knee dislocation in a bad knee while pivoting to descend a log that lay across the climbers' trail.


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