Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hurdygurdy Mountain

Adventure beckoned. This week's objective was to climb Hurdygurdy Mountain. Under looming skies and pending rain clouds, Jesse and I set off from the South Fork Eagle River TH at 7:50 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2010. Our hope was for the rain to hold off long enough to take in the magnificent views from the summit. The last several adventures have been organic, diverse, and wet. The crux of exploring the Alaskan backcountry is to be prepared and willing to adventure out into the elements, regardless of what form they encapsulate. This outing proved no different.

The first picture from this journey is a spectacular mountain reflection in Eagle Lake. Cantata Peak and Triangle Peak (Left to Right) can be seen in the distance. Both are awesome climbs!

Our route dove into the greenery and followed the edge of Eagle Lake for several very slow and frustrating miles.

During an adventure last year, Jesse and I discovered an amazingly wide gully almost secretly perched in between Point 5679 and Point 5764. From Eagle Lake, this gully climbs over 3,000 feet and eventually deposits you directly on the ridge leading to Hurdygurdy.

One last view looking back from where we came before heading into the clouds.

The ceiling dropped and we found our way in a sea of clouds and mist.

At times, the interaction of the terrain and weather made it feel like we were someplace on the moon or some galaxy far, far away.

The ridge! I couldn't decide if I wanted to walk on the cornice or on the sturdy ridge. The fog was clouding my judgment.

The remains of Winter were littered along the ridge. We prepared for the summit by changing out of shorts and donning rain pants, gloves, and a winter hat. To the top we go!

The summit of Hurdygurdy! Similar to last week's summit of Thunderbird Peak, the views were nonexistent but the feelings of accomplishment were high.

The descent involved a bit of route finding and nerves. Jesse and another guy we met along the way carefully made their way down a snow field.

Finally off the ridge and back into the gully we initially ascended leading to the ridge, a cheerful patch of flowers clung to the mountainous terrain.

The final portions of the journey entailed multiple water crossings in frigid temperatures, fields of Lupine, organic experiments, and miles of running to the truck parked at the trail head. Another spiritual wilderness adventure and another mountain clicked off the list!