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 Surprising Myself on Pierce 
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:40 pm
Posts: 1664
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 Surprising Myself on Pierce
I was sick of wasting nice days being intimidated by weather forcasts that didn't quite pan out and my own cold-phobia. Screw it, lets go above tree line. Let's get over the silly s&*t that keeps us home. But I didn't want a superlong ride that ended with a steep hike where I had to turn around close to the top due to insurmountable ice or whatever.

We ended up going to Pierce. Check and Cheryl were planning on Pierce/Eisenhower, I thought it would be fun to see them along the trail. We originally planned for both peaks, but ended up just doing Pierce.

My downfall is a combination of not getting out of the house in time, along with being slow. I figured if we were on the road by 5, we'd be on the trail by 7:30. I missed by an hour and spent 20 minutes in the lot second-guessing myself concerning traction and did I avoid parking like an a..h... I wanted to leave enough space without wasting space (so the millions who wanted to would not be deprived of their Crawford walk on such a winters day) and I wanted to avoid carrying my snowshoes but yet did not want to be without them if they were needed. Prema set me straight on both issues and a few people told me the reports they read (same ones I did, probably) said 'spikes would be enough.

I left my fleece off, too. And I was actually comfortable. Produced enough heat to keep me warm without drenching myself. Gibbs Falls were pretty, first time I had seen the winter version. The walk up was pleasant, the Microspikes were enough. A very social hike, too, if you wanted solitude this was not the day for it. This was amusing in its own way. While I was thinking "Good for you! Sensibly not overdressing," two young men came up - NO SHIRTS - only thing they were wearing on top were their packs. A lady went by, full speed ahead, saying "It's kind of hot today." Then there were a couple groups out for the day. Several people took a break where the Mizpah cut-off starts. Interesting stories from some of them. But no "WeRMudFun" yet. I figured C and C were further up, or changed their plans.

Now one of the things I don't like about winter is that after working to get your way up it is often too cold to sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor for very long. But not today! I had intended to go on to Ike, depending on what time we got to Pierce. My mind was busier than my feet, debating on the way up, contemplating "Should we go down Edmands and take the road back?" "No, you'll slip on the icy part and it's probably not packed out and the shoes are in the car." A tall slender guy told me it took him an hour between peaks, you all know what kind of calculations that made me think of for us! So I decided we would just enjoy our time on Pierce.

It was cloudy, but the views were still good. Prema had arrived in time to see the clouds obscure Washington. I said with our luck if we try for Ike the clouds will roll on over that, too. So we got out our therma rest seats and had a nice lunch. I would never believe that I would ever see myself sitting on some mountain top in January just hanging out enjoying the views without worrying about the misery of hypothermia. It was great! While we were sitting, I noticed a hiker about halfway back from Ike. whoever it was, they were making good time. When we looked again they were even closer. As we were looking around the summit we did not notice if they had passed by and were on their way down. And we still didn't see Chuck and Cheryl.

The trip down was fun. Sure, the warm day did produce sticky snow, but it was worth it. No big deal. And it was so bright out. I'm so used to being so slow that to come out and have it be still so light was funny. It wasn't even 4:00 yet! And then we saw the note on the windshield. C and C had gotten there earlier and were sorry they missed us. I think that WAS them on the path between Ike and Pierce.

Surprises: enjoyed summit sitting without it having to be in the 60s or higher, didn't need more than a sweater most of the time, made book time on the descent, and it was light for at least another 90 minutes after we came out of the woods! It felt so weird getting home before 8 PM! We'll have to do this more often!

Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:42 pm
Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
Posts: 2765
Location: south of the notches
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 Re: Surprising Myself on Pierce
Beckie and Prema wrote:
We'll have to do this more often!

Indeed. Sounds like a great outing. LOVE that peak. :)

Life is a trip ~ pack accordingly

Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:52 pm
Master Mountaineer
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:21 am
Posts: 863
Location: NH
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 Re: Surprising Myself on Pierce
It still seems unbelievable that the only chance we had of missing you guys would have been if you were that 0.1 mile off the Crawford Path on the summit of Pierce when we walked back by. :shock: When we didn't see your car in the morning we figured you decided on a different mountain. Small world, but it's full on nooks and crannies I guess. :D
Working on video and TR today, hope to post later.

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Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:20 am
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
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 Re: Surprising Myself on Pierce
Sounds like a wonderful day to be out there. Definitely do it more often. Winter descents are almost always fast and fun! We only went over to Adams Point with the kids but it was 55 and sunny! 8) I think the groundhog might be right this time. Seems like winter is over before it really even began this year. :( Personally I hope he's wrong!

Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:40 am
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