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Ascent of Gardner Mountain on 2020-08-17

Climber: Brad Hefta-Gaub

Date:Monday, August 17, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gardner Mountain
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8898 ft / 2712 m

Ascent Trip Report

Instead of Fast and Light, I went Slow and Light. Took my lightest possible setup, but took it nice and easy. Left the house at 8:30am, arrived at trailhead around 12:30. Setoff around 1pm. The heat on Monday was oppressive, the climb up Gardner seemed to take forever, reached the summit, and realized I wouldn't make it to North Gardner before sunset, so I just decided to hang out and sleep on the summit of Gardner. Filmed a time lapse of the sunset, built a little rock wall for my bivy, and hung out and enjoyed the beautiful night sky. I noticed I had cell coverage so I posted the video and chatted with friends about the beautiful night.

My lightweight bivy sleep system was almost perfect. I was a little chilly a few times in the night when the wind really started howling, but actually slept pretty well. Set my alarm to see the sunrise.

Once the sun was up the traverse over the North Gardner was pretty straight forward. Admittedly, this felt like a pretty "big" objective to me, the ridge looked like about 3 miles out and back of sustained class 3 travel. In reality is was more like sustained class 1.5 with a couple of class 3 sections where proper route finding made for easy travel. Enjoyed a breakfast Dicks Burger on the summit of North Gardner.

The scree ski down pt 8487 was tons of fun. Then the shenanigans began. The "mine trail" from Gardner Meadows to Abernathy bares no resemblance to the traditional definition of trail. It's all blow downs and bullshit. I mistakenly followed some other guys GPX. Do not make this mistake! Do not follow this GPX to get from Gardner Meadows to Abernathy. I don't know what approach would work better, but this one sucks. It took me 4 hours to go 2 miles before reaching the standard Abernathy ridge summit approach. My return trip I tried to stay as high as possible with the hopes that I'd reach the meadows for easy travel. This worked "slightly better" as my return trip was only 3 hours. But still it's not a good way to go.

The climb proper of Abernathy was pretty straight forward, mostly trail with about 3 sections of easy class 3 shenanigans. I'm not sure why my GPX doesn't show me on the summit, because I did find and sign the registry.

I made it back to Gardner Meadows before sunset, which I was thankful for. But somehow the Wolf Creek Trail seemed to grow in the 30 hours I'd been out. And as I plodded along in the dark I finally felt exhaustion take over and decided to take an extended trail nap. I pulled over to a wide "flat" spot on the side of the trail and setup my bivy and again enjoyed the star filled night sky. When I awoke I had slid about 18" away from my shoes, as the ground clearly shifted while I slept.

I made it back to my car and drove home.

All in all it was a good time in the mountains.

Gear:
- Salomon ADV Skin 12
- 2x 500ml Salomon Soft flasks
- 2L Platypus flask
- Altra Lone Peaks
- Trekking Poles
- Ruta Locura bivy sack
- Kymlit Inertia X Lite sleeping pad
- Nike running shorts, Kühl Short sleeve shirt, Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket, OR Helium II Jacket, smart wool socks, Costco brand merino wool tights.

Food Consumed:
- 4 Dick's cheese burgers, 1x TJ's olive packs, 1x probar koka moka, Some home made trail mix, a dried salami stick.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3937383250
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Ski Poles
Ascent Part of Trip: Gardner/North Gardner/Abernathy Slam (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Gardner Mountain2020-08-17 
2North Gardner Mountain2020-08-18 
3Abernathy Peak2020-08-18 



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