June 18, 2012

What do you get when a narwhal mates with a horse?

With a suspect weather forecast, Ava and I opted to attempt to execute our plans of climbing Unicorn (yes, that's the answer to the title question) Peak in the Tatoosh Range, due south of Mt. Rainier.  We almost didn't bring our skis but ended up being really glad that we did as there was snow all the way to the parking area.

Most of the way up, the mountain was obscured by clouds.  The few moments of clarity we had barely lasted long enough to get a camera out, but I managed to be quick enough on the draw once or twice.

Unicorn Peak during a blessing of visibility
Shortly after that picture was taken the clouds came back in, engulfing not only the mountain this time, but us as well.  We managed to skin most of the way to the top, until the increasing slope and decreasing visibility (down to about 20 feet at times) inspired us to put our skis on our packs and our ice axes in our hands.

The top of the mountain, as seen in the first picture, is a rock pinnacle and the obvious namesake of the peak.  We opted for the 5.6 finish directly to the top from the south, which was great fun but depressingly short.   

Ava nearing the top of the horn
We encountered a moderately obnoxious group of Mazamas at the summit; obnoxious largely due to the fact that there were so many of them.  Luckily, they were all rapelling off the summit at the same time we were getting there, so we had plenty of uninterrupted time for rediculous summit shots.

Captain Lickey and Blue Steel
The summit of Unicorn is arguably home to the best views of Mt. Rainier.  Cursing the clouds didn't help, but at one point while on the summit, it did appear that there were rocks in the sky in the direction of the big mountain.  With a little bit of clearing down lower, the descent was pretty damn rad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

REALLY. You were just skiing this week. I don't believe you.