Volcano Quest III : Glacier Peak
2015 Failure Shot
Ok, so... remember that time in 2017
, when Rosty and I tried to climb Glacier Peak? which was in turn an attempt to re-climb Glacier peak with me and Rosty and Brian and Arn in 2015
? Yeah, so do we. So do we. Score: Glacier Peak - 2, Weekend Warrior Mountaineers: 0.
So this little feud with Glacier Peak - we weren't going to let it go. On cue, once again, two years later, here we are: time for the third attempt on the recalcitrant volcano, Glacier Peak. Or, as I am calling it: Volcano Quest III
Over a different Glacier
After thinking about why we failed to climb Glacier Peak on the previous two attempts, we took a different approach with this trip. Essentially the approach was: all else does not matter, Glacier Peak is the only thing that counts. And what we meant by that was, all of the time allocated to this trip (which was, by the way, a full eight days) was useable in the pursuit of the summit of Glacier Peak. Any and all days were theoretically devotable to the Glacier Peak climb. Our departure day would be entirely dictated by looking at the forecast in detail and choosing whichever day would result in us having a summit day that was as favorable as possible. And if that meant starting off in the pouring rain in order to arrive at the summit in the sun, so be it. If that meant deferring or cancelling other hikes or activities, so be it. No more chance-taking. Glacier Peak Summit: Priority #1.
For our third attempt, we nearly reconsituted the original 2015 group: Myself, Rosty, Brian. The only person missing was the laggard Arn, who claimed to be on some important family trip or something. We chose a time-frame, mid-July, that was partway between 2015's and 2017's (2015 had been dry and too little snow, 2017 had been early and too much snow).
Brian and I left early on a Sunday morning from Ottawa; a nice direct flight that had us arriving in Vancouver at a very convenient 10 a.m. After some annoying delay due to an inefficiently-run Discount rent-a-car that services the Vancouver airport, we met up with Arn's brother Kyle for a short visit (Thanks, Kyle, for showing us an excellent dim-sum).
Before saying goodbye, Kyle offers us the use of his flat for the night (he's already got plans to head out), and we gratefully agree. We then head off to pick up various camping supplies in preparation for our trip, then wander around downtown Vancouver for a little bit.
Heading downtown for a bit
Kyle's Relaxing Penthouse
Needless to say, we've been monitoring the forecast(s) closely. In fact, even before we had arrived, we had been closely watching the forecast. The tea leaves were not reading that well for the next few days: a gradual worsening of conditions and a nebulously-defined rain event for sometime mid-week. Reconfirming one last time, all three of us (I was in constant communication with Rosty) agreed that the next day, or even the next day after that, would not be suitable for climbing Glacier Peak. After that, the forecast was too far out to be sure. Patience was the watchword.
So, what to do instead? The immediate forecast for the next day (Monday) wasn't actually all that bad. Brian and I were raring to get out and do something, so I consulted my guidebooks and picked something that wasn't too far from Kyle's place in Vancouver, and which got us a bit of the way towards Rosty (who lives in Seattle). I settled on a modest peak called "Yellow Aster Butte", not far from another Cascade Volcano - Mount Baker. Below are a few sample shots from that excellent little hike. If you want to read about it in detail (along with many more pictures), please click here
Yellow flowers on Yellow A. Butte
Following our Yellow Aster Butte climb, we continued south, where we met up with Rosty at his place in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. Rosty graciously offered to host us at his place for however long it took for us to "do this Glacier Peak thing". Brian and I fetched some arugula salad and wine, Rosty whipped up a hearty rotini pasta dish, and we had a very civilized and relaxing evening.
Cisyk Household Residents
Queen Anne Hipster Breakfast
The forecast continued to develop. It called for unsettled weather in the mountains for today (Tuesday), degrading on Wednesday to outright rain and even snow at the elevations near the summit of Glacier Peak. The mountain was fighting us, I swear! However, we had planned for this eventuality, and we had some time to burn. So the decision was made - no start for Glacier Peak on Tuesday. In the evening we would consult the forecast once again.
With the day free for us to burn, and with an uncertain mountain forecast, we decided to do something city-ish. Brian suggested the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, and being a plane aficionado, I of course immediately said yes.
Brian at Museum of Flight
We spent most of the day touring the museum, which has both internal and external venues. Highlights included the actual original prototype example of many mainstream commercial airliners, such as the 727 and 747, and a whole Apollo 11 moon exhibit (we were visiting at the time of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing), including the actual Apollo 11 capsule. Special.
Distorted Apollo Injector Plate
Hallowed Apollo 11 Capsule
After another excellent dinner prepared by Rosty (this time centered around salmon, but still with arugula salad and some fine wine), we pampered ourselves with a visit to an excellent little neighborhood ice cream shop - Molly Moon's on West Galer Street (still in Rosty's neighborhood of Queen Anne). The ice cream I ordered (sweet cream, I believe) was good. Very good. But what was out of this world was the topping I ordered: a thin caramel sauce that for all the world tasted like creme brulee. The best, perfectly caramelized bit of a 5-star quality creme brulee. Wow. Yum.
We checked the regional mountain forecast one more time before going to bed. The forecast was still for rough and inclement weather the following day. But the consensus was that it would start to break the day after, and at this point, Friday was looking decent, and the weekend was looking completely perfect. That was heartening. But for tomorrow (Wednesday), we would definitely not be starting off, and it wouldn't even be a good idea to go for a day hike.