Jenny and I decided not to do an immediate, long honeymoon trip right after our wedding. Instead, we’re going to do a number of trips.
The first one was this past weekend, to Black Peak in the North Cascades. Black Peak is Washington’s 20th highest peak, and we had been talking about climbing it since fall of 2016.
The hike in was quite enjoyable, despite carrying our tent and everything else we needed to camp. The trail to Heather Pass was completely snow-free and easy. After that, our journey was mostly on snow, with a few boulder fields in between. The summer climber’s trail is beginning to melt out, though. I think in a few weeks, getting to Wing Lake will be even easier.
We camped right next to Wing Lake, which was still frozen over with a thin layer of ice.
The snowfield below Black Peak’s south col was still solid, and at 5 AM, it was perfect styrofoam snow for cramponing.
The 900 vertical feet of scrambling were easy for the most part, although we once headed into the wrong gulley and had to downclimb. We were about 50 feet too far to the east.
The crux of the scramble was just below the true summit: A steep, unprotected section of three steps, totaling maybe 10 feet (picture from SummitPost, not by us). The rock was solid, and there were a number of good footholds, but the handholds were all on the side, under an overhanging rock protrusion. There was a lot of loose rock on top of the steps. On the downclimb, it was difficult to see the feet into the holds. We managed to find them, but even if we hadn’t, we could have held on to rock protrusion and ungracefully scraped down the rock face. It was probably less dangerous than it felt.
The view from the top was gorgeous, and we were happy we didn’t push to climb Black Peak on Saturday, when the weather was cloudy.
All in all, it took us four easy hours from car to camp, and three hours from camp to summit. We were back at camp before 10 AM, tore down and left camp at 11 AM, and were back at the car at 2:30 PM on Sunday.