Ascent of Gardner Mountain on 2021-01-10

Climber: Ryan Stoddard

Date:Sunday, January 10, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gardner Mountain
    Elevation:8898 ft / 2712 m

Ascent Trip Report

With Eric and Josh

This group of peaks is very special to me - during my solo run/climb in September 2016 I found a love for the concept of “mountain running”. What a special experience to return to these in winter.

Saturday very early we all meet at the last place you can park before the snow berm, then snomobile/tow ~4mi to the Wolf Creek Trailhead. We skin to Gardner Meadows, drop overnight gear, then skin up to Abernathy N ridge. We ditch skis on the ridge, then crampon/scramble to the summit, bypassing cliffs and cornices on climbers right. The sun starts to set, and there is an undercast, and I cannot believe that I am here in this magical moment. Wow a winter sunset from an 8k' peak in the Cascades may be one of the best things in the world.

There is wind loading on NE aspects so the exciting ski lines on Abernathy NE face are off limits. We scramble back to skis then drop into a bowl off the ridge at last light and ski powder down to Abernathy lake then back down to camp with just a few short sections of shuffling.

I sleep in "snow ditch" strategy for first time which works very well. We know weather is trending better thru Sunday morning so no need for an early start, around 6am we start skinning up towards Gardner. Early on we decide that it would be more fun and probably more efficient to ski Gardner S gully down halfway rather than doing the Gardner traverse (which has less elevation loss, but would be tedious in mixed conditions).

We summit Gardner in low viz, then ski from summit down the S gully. Then climb back up towards N Gardner, ditch skis near pt 8487, then scramble the ridge to N Gardner summit. Views are improving - we are in between cloud layers - but there are sustained strong winds which really add to the winter feel. What a contrast - in summer I was frolicking along the climbers trail in short shorts and now I was bracing myself against the wind and moving carefully with crampons and axe - these winter climbs are not easy. After a break on N Gardner summit we return to skis, were we get an amazing 3k' descent thru powder down to camp.

Then skin out, much faster than skin in, then snowmobile from TH down to cars. What an incredible trip - 3 peaks, winter sunset views, fun skiing <3 <3

Possible first winter ascents. I think it is very likely the Gardners have been climbed in winter, but we couldn't find any specific reports in any of the usual places. Perhaps Abernathy was previously unclimbed in winter tho.


Summary Total Data
Ascent Part of Trip: Abernathy Gardners Winter

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Abernathy Peak2021-01-09 
2Gardner Mountain2021-01-10 a 
3Point 84872021-01-10 b 
4North Gardner Mountain2021-01-10 c 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Ryan Stoddard
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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