Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gentoo Peak

Adventure beckoned. Ben, Tundra, and I hiked up California Creek and onto the Penguin Ridge in hopes of climbing Gentoo Peak and California Peak. We had the time, desire, and conditioning to spend an entire day in the mountains; however, as anybody living in Alaska can attest to, the weather can alter even the best laid plans. Nevertheless, with rain in the forecast, we set out from the California Creek trailhead at 5:20 a.m. The weather looked promising. A few hours later we emerged on Penguin Ridge. After building a cairn just in case the clouds rolled in...our trio quickly strolled to the summit of Gentoo Peak. The views were amazing and my mountain "to-do" list expanded!

The clouds started to slither in, but we continued our hike along the ridge. Just as we neared California Peak, the clouds completely engulfed the mountain and surrounding area. Without appropriate visibility, we were reluctant to climb in an unknown area. After chilling on the ridge for close to 30-minutes, the clouds only appeared interested in swallowing up our views and spirits. We hung out for awhile longer hoping that a window of opportunity would emerge. At this point, Tundra was sleeping and we were getting chilled, so we made the judgment call to turn back and head home. This was a very tough decision. Although, now I have a valid reason to return another day to finish California and knock off Rubbletop Mtn.

Standing on the summit of Gentoo Peak. The clouds are beginning to darken...

Tundra is wondering why we need to climb back up Gentoo Peak. I would rather backtrack along the ridge than drop down into the choke filled and nightmarish California Creek valley.