Monday, September 06, 2010

cairn along north slide

cairn along north slide
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

This is a view of a cairn on the most difficult part of the north slide.

At some point, the slide opens out to this very wide, exposed area that is covered in a jumble of steep slabs, unstable rocks, and gravel. The slope here is quite steep, and the trail is poorly marked with a rare yellow blaze. I was frequently buffeted by blasts of cold wind while making my way up here, which I found disconcerting.

The AMC Guide says the trail along here "turns sharp left into the woods at a cairn", but don't be fooled by the first cairn that you see. There are several cairns along this slide, and by the time you reach the right one, it will be obvious because it is close to where the trail goes into the woods on the left side of the slide.

I don't usually suffer from acrophobia, but it did a number on me going up this slide. I probably aggravated the problem by turning around to look out at the vast mountain views frequently, and stopping to take photos.

I crawled up most of the way, sometimes pulling myself up with my hands. This got to be pretty tiresome since I was wearing a 12-lb pack. I recall thinking several times that I should never do this again; being concerned that it might rain and the rocks would become slippery; that I might get stuck without being able to move up or down.

Regardless, I did keep moving up. Eventually I was passed by one guy who seemed to have little trouble walking up, without using his hands. This makes me think my problem was mainly psychological. Looking at the photos from the safety of home, it does look steep but not murderous.

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