I was in town today getting snow tires for Erin’s Jeep, and when I’m in town, I often head over to Hyperspud to look at maps, books and gear that I can’t afford. Today I was looking through the book Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills put out by the aptly named Mountaineers Press. They put out some nice hiking guides and how-to books for outdoor recreation. Turns out, this book is the “Bible” for mountaineers, and I want it. I also desperately want to get into mountaineering so that I may continue to hike and explore all year round. While researching a potential winter hike to Stevens Lake, I stumbled upon the idea of making for the summit of Stevens Peak just behind. At just over 7000 feet, it’s not a particularly hard peak to summit, especially in the summer. But it looks like it would be a good peak to try out winter mountaineering. Turns out, Stevens peak is used by several nearby mountaineering clubs as a novice peak. For now, I just want to get into basic mountaineering. I want to be able to summit mountains by basically walking up them. There are tons of options for the summer, but ice and avalanches are deterring me for just getting up and going. I got a pair of nice snow shoes for the holidays, so a hike to some of the lakes basins isn’t out of the picture. But the exposed slopes above treeline are where the extra skill come into play. I will eventually work up to climbs that require winter camping, ropes and other technical expertise. I’d also like to own an ice axe and a pair of real crampons at some point. For now, I can rent everything I need from the university’s rec center. Of course, before I can make any of this a reality, I need to find some people to go with.
Right now it’s snowing pretty heavily. Last night we got an inch or two of wet snow that promptly turned to slush. It started snowing again this afternoon and we’ve already got another couple of inches or so. In all, we’re predicted to have up to 6 inches which means more for the mountains. Time to find a good trail to use those snowshoes.