August 28, 2009

North Cascades

I just finished a 10-day trip in the North Cascades with several fellow NOLS instructors. The purpose was to train current instructors in the ways of NOLS mountaineering customs in order check more instructors off to teach mountaineering courses in areas such as the North Cascades, Waddington Range, Patagonia, and India. Needless to say, since all NOLS instructors are great people, the company was fantastic! I learned a lot about how to manage students in an institutional setting in a terrain type that I'm fairly familiar traveling in on personal trips.

I was thoroughly impressed with the glaciers and vertical relief in North Cascades National Park. On the first day we ascended a steep 'trail' for 3,500 vertical feet to go from the forest to alpine environment. We stayed high in the alpine environment crossing glaciers and climbing peaks for the next 8 days, then descended the infamous Thunder Ridge to meet up with our ride back to civilization. The final mile of Thunder Ridge drops 3,000 vertical feet. I can't wait to do more exploring in this area! Here are some pics.

Dave crossing the creek in Boston Basin below our first camp

Emily navigating crevasses on the Quien Sabe glacier on the way up Sahale Peak

Looking down the Quien Sabe Glacier

Chris leading the summit pitch of Sahale Peak

The Quien Sabe Glacier and Sahale Peak (right side)

Crossing the Inspiration Glacier

Descending Eldorado Peak in a whiteout

The Inspiration Glacier with Forbidden Peak in the Background

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