May 1998: While trading photos and video from Timpanogos, Chris and Shaun decide to tackle something a little tougher. One week later, they start up Cascade Peak.
After eye-balling a route from the road (Shaun had scouted it out earlier in the week by mountain bike), they headed up the snout of an avalanche that ended at the dirt road below. After a hundred yards or so, they realized they had been climbing the wrong one and bushwhacked a few hundred feet south to the correct target.
Shaun makes quick vertical in the steep chute
|Their new route led up through solid snow (with a few snow
bridges) to around 8,500' where it turned into a wide, steep, treacherous face. Snow was
no longer as stable and walking across small, loose scree was exhausting.
They followed a mountain goat and kid up through a few cliff bands and finally neared the summit ridge after waiting out a few large thunder bumpers scraping the ridge above.
The treck to the summit, two miles north, through soft snow was also exhausing. They reached the top around 7:00 p.m. and made their way south again, then dropped down over the back (east) side of the mountain, safely glisading down thousands of feet as a heavy blizzard hit the ridge. By the time the snow ran out underfoot, the heavy flakes had turned to rain, and lightning lit their way down the pitch-black trail.
They arrived home at 11:00 p.m. after hitching a ride the last ten miles down the canyon.
The lightning would light up about ten feet of trail before blinding me
(Chris had his headlamp)...anyway, it was fun being in snow with lightning--felt strange.
By the time we were near the road in South Fork Canyon, we were soaked and just walked through whatever streams we encountered. We got home at 11:00 and it took two weeks before I could look back up at the mountains and wish I could be up on top again.
The next year, Shaun and Robert took a different, better route up. The next viable chute to the north led them higher toward the summit ridge before opening up.