Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mon, 22 July - Bonney Pass, a view of Gannett Peak, and Knapsack Col!

Wonderful hike through Titcomb Basin but then the trail ended and the route up to Bonney Pass was difficult to find.  Perhaps there isn't one?  Think I was to far right and the boulders steep and huge.  Lots of loose scree, rocks, and snow.  Difficult and slow with a full pack.   But the views from the pass of Gannett Peak and all the glaciers was fantastic.  
I must admit seeing the route in person with all the glacier crossings and rock climbing was intimidating.  Especially knowing I did not have the right gear for snow travel.  I had hoped to find a few climbers but saw no tents at base camp and only one hiker crossing the last glacier and he was coming down.  Guessing he turned back short if the summit because it was still very early.  Seeing as it was so difficult to get to Bonney Pass, and others said it rock from 6-9 hours just to get to the summit, I decided it was not safe to go alone.  Disappointing, the summit is only two miles away, but I didn't feel safe going alone without the right gear.  

After a long lunch break enjoying the magnificent views I headed back down Bonneey Pass to rejoin the The route to Knapsack Col.  Had the great idea to glissade down some of the snow fields.  At the bottom of one run I found I had lost all four water bottles. Didn't save much time because I had to up climb to retrieve them. Lol.

Met a couple climbing up the pass and the girl said she stopped to cry three times already because the climb was so hard.  Then I met the climber who I thought had turned back from his climb.  Turned out he hiked in, made the summit, and was hiking home all in the same day.  Unbelievably fast!  He said even he was uncomfortable using crampons and ice ax; which made me feel better about my decision not to summit.

The climb up Knapsack Col while not as hard as Bonney Pass was very difficult as you had to avoid the glaciers on either side and it left you on steep car size boulders.  At one point I found myself too high and right and had to climb down to find a route through.  Very slow going but there may have been better routes.  Amazing but scary climb through the glacier choked pass.

Thought I was home free on top but the climb down to Peak Lake left me boulder hopping and at one point mud hopping through the snow runoff.  Thought I would have an easy hike around the lake but no luck.  More boulder climbing through rock slides on the banks.

Exhausting low mileage day but glad I didn't skip this fantastic day.  Camping just short of Vista Pass.

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