| Falure and Success on Hope
Hope, to have a wish to get or do something, especially something that seems possible or likely.
Mt. Hope was on the schedule for the spring gathering for me. I had wanted to do the Hopeful couloir for a while so I wanted to give it a shot. This spring has been tough on myself and my buddy Steve. We haven’t made the summit of anything since Quandary in January, yes January. I’ve had an amazing season of skiing but it seems that everything we went into the backcountry for a peak we were denied due to horrible weather or avalanche conditions. I was determined to get something done about that this weekend, especially with the weather forecast.
Steve and I hooked up on Friday night after work at the spring gathering camp fire, had a few beers then hit the beds. Woke up around 3:30 and after a little while we hit the trail at 4:30., we also had another 14ers.com member joined us, Kaye (sorry if I misspelled your name). The first mile or so was dry and we made quick time up. We finally hit snow and snowshoes went on and so commenced the torture of the first day. Steve was skinning on his split board and Kaye and I were on snowshoes. I bruised my knee the previous weekend so I wasn’t skiing this day, I didn’t want to put too much stress on my knee for this weekend.
The trail hadn’t been broken going up to Hope pass in a while. The angle of the snow was probably around 25 degrees and it was terrible trying to skin or walk on frozen snow for over a mile at that constant slope angle. Steve must had slid off the trail 3 times and couldn’t do anything until he stopped himself on a tree. I had gotten ahead of Steve and Kaye and ended up waiting for them near 11,000 for about 45 minutes. By then the sun was up and starting to everything up. Kaye ended up turning around and Steve finally made it up to me. We were both really disappointed in the conditions but pushed on. We made great time up into the basin and soon we made the decision to ascend the southeast face instead of making a play for the Hopeful couloir. This decision was made because of the sun and the warming snow. We put crampons on and started up the face. About halfway up the snow had warmed so much that we were postholing to our thighs. We started to see snow releasing off of some rocks above us and we made the ultimate decision to turn around. This was demoralizing as this was yet another peak we failed on, I was pissed off. We made our way down and found that postholing and trail breaking were waiting for us for the trip out. I tried to make sure I was breaking as much of the trail as possible so there would hopefully be a decent trail for somebody in the future. We got back to the trailhead around 10:30am and began to drink away our disappointment.
In the mean time my other buddy Nathan showed up and the beer flowed like wine. Long story short about six hours later after joking around and many beers downed I somehow convinced Steve and Nathan to attempt Hope the next day. So we rolled out of bed around 3:30 yet again to give this thing one more try. We hit the trail at 4:30 again and got moving. We rolled up the trail in lightning speed compared to the previous day. We hit the bottom of the southeast face right around sunrise. The snow was good and ready to go. We ascended a little right of what we wanted to do as our previous days line avalanched and we didn’t want to take the chance if the snow heated up on us again. We were all feeling the amount of beer we had consumed and after starting up the couloir things got slower. I kicked steps for Steve and Nathan to the top. Once up top Nathan decided to turn around and Steve and I kept going. We moved up the basin and I hit the east ridge around half way up from hope pass. Steve decided to stay low and hit up the entire face. I enjoyed the ridge as it had some mixed climbing between snow and rock, it was a fun climb. We finally made the summit and enjoyed our first one in a while. I called my mom for mother’s day , took some pictures then set off for the trailhead. Steve had some sweet turns up there and I realized yet again that snowshoes suck, I wish my knee hadn’t have been crap. We made it back to the trailhead at 11:30am, only an hour longer than the previous day.
So after a few months of disappointingly missing summits we finally made it up Hope after our second try on Sunday. Now it’s time for some spring skiing and climbing and enjoying the mountains.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):