Altair Peak—Death by Postholing

pat
pat

June 15th, 2010, 12:59 am #1

There's snow in them thar hills! George, John, Brandon and I were soon to discover just how cruel that snow could be. The last thing on our minds was the softening conditions as we climbed a near vertical rock step to the Altair-Pyramid saddle. Nor was it a big concern as we traversed 1000 feet on front points along the north side of Altair Peak. We had other things on our minds.

When we finally made the summit we were thrilled but exhausted. Unwilling to reverse our route, we decided that a glissade into Broad Canyon was the quickest way back. Little did we know that agony we were about to experience. Without snowshoes, the snow turned into a waist deep soup. Occasional loose talus offered some respite from the agony. What should have been a victory hike became an exhausting death crawl. Finally we climbed the SE ridge of Altair to escape the steep snow and return to Bellas Canyon where our adventure began.

We slept well.

Altair


George on the rock step.


John and George at the beginning of the 1000 foot traverse on the North Face.


Brandon, John, George and I on the top.


John displaying one legged crawl. George displaying classic all 4's technique.


Easier ground on the SE Ridge of Altair. Standhope Peak in the background.

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Joined: November 8th, 2007, 2:31 pm

June 15th, 2010, 5:01 am #2

Nice, Pat! You missed the shots of me in the trees where the "all 4's technique" wouldn't even work and I had to resort a combination of the Army crawl and the breast stroke.

If you've got any pics of the glissade, please email or post.

Here's a slideshow of my shots.
http://picasaweb.google.com/george.rein ... 1598307186

-George
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Joined: April 14th, 2005, 2:42 am

June 15th, 2010, 12:09 pm #3

There's snow in them thar hills! George, John, Brandon and I were soon to discover just how cruel that snow could be. The last thing on our minds was the softening conditions as we climbed a near vertical rock step to the Altair-Pyramid saddle. Nor was it a big concern as we traversed 1000 feet on front points along the north side of Altair Peak. We had other things on our minds.

When we finally made the summit we were thrilled but exhausted. Unwilling to reverse our route, we decided that a glissade into Broad Canyon was the quickest way back. Little did we know that agony we were about to experience. Without snowshoes, the snow turned into a waist deep soup. Occasional loose talus offered some respite from the agony. What should have been a victory hike became an exhausting death crawl. Finally we climbed the SE ridge of Altair to escape the steep snow and return to Bellas Canyon where our adventure began.

We slept well.

Altair


George on the rock step.


John and George at the beginning of the 1000 foot traverse on the North Face.


Brandon, John, George and I on the top.


John displaying one legged crawl. George displaying classic all 4's technique.


Easier ground on the SE Ridge of Altair. Standhope Peak in the background.
Love it!
The title had me laughing before I even started.
The shots had me staring in awe (yours, too, Geo).
Nice job you guyz.
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Wes
Wes

June 15th, 2010, 4:02 pm #4

There's snow in them thar hills! George, John, Brandon and I were soon to discover just how cruel that snow could be. The last thing on our minds was the softening conditions as we climbed a near vertical rock step to the Altair-Pyramid saddle. Nor was it a big concern as we traversed 1000 feet on front points along the north side of Altair Peak. We had other things on our minds.

When we finally made the summit we were thrilled but exhausted. Unwilling to reverse our route, we decided that a glissade into Broad Canyon was the quickest way back. Little did we know that agony we were about to experience. Without snowshoes, the snow turned into a waist deep soup. Occasional loose talus offered some respite from the agony. What should have been a victory hike became an exhausting death crawl. Finally we climbed the SE ridge of Altair to escape the steep snow and return to Bellas Canyon where our adventure began.

We slept well.

Altair


George on the rock step.


John and George at the beginning of the 1000 foot traverse on the North Face.


Brandon, John, George and I on the top.


John displaying one legged crawl. George displaying classic all 4's technique.


Easier ground on the SE Ridge of Altair. Standhope Peak in the background.
Wow! Way to go guys!! That's a long one for this early in the year! how low was the snow in Broad Canyon?
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pat
pat

June 17th, 2010, 1:34 am #5

George, John, Wes,
Sorry for the slow response. I have been out of town.
Let's see...

George,
Here are some Glissade Pictures. It never looks as steep as it feels.


Into the heart of Broad Basin


Brandon coming to a soft landing.


John,
Thanks for the nice comment.

Wes,
Broad Canyon looks a lot like Bellas Canyon. The entire basin has deep snow above elevation 9400 feet. The northern aspects have snow down to about 8800 feet. If you are thinking of skiing, it is possible. Try Standhope.
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