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Ascent of Gardner Mountain on 2017-07-13

Climber: Sarah Montgomery

Others in Party:Max Schrempp
Date:Thursday, July 13, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gardner Mountain
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8898 ft / 2712 m

Ascent Trip Report

Having not found a third to join us on a volcano this week, Max and I set out from Seattle early Wednesday morning with a 3-day plan to reach North Gardner and Gardner Mountains. We followed redwic's driving directions on Summitpost. The hike up Wolf Creek Trail was very straightforward with few blowdowns, though Max gained a few inexplicably nasty blisters. A Forest Service trail crew was working their way up to the meadows, and we saw them on both days clearing downed trees.

We camped at Gardner Meadows and set out for the cirque below peak 8487 around 7 am. Reaching the cirque, with beautiful views of the meadows below and peaks above, we had a few decisions to make. Max was feeling sick (flu-ish symptoms+dirt/pollen+elevation), and we were expecting snow (for kicking steps!) on the scree slope to peak 8487. There was none. Beckey describes this slope as "easy", but it looked like a real pain. Going up to 8487 then across the ridge to North Gardner was no longer reasonable for Max, and soloing that route with Max waiting below did not feel right from a safety perspective for either of us. We turned our sights to Gardner itself, refreshed by sound decision making and a nearer, easier peak ahead. Max led the mostly class 2 scramble route, and I followed at a distance. He is a more efficient scrambler than me... I also wanted to stay out of the way of rocks and vomit! :)
Max waited for me nearer the top and we hiked the last couple hundred feet together. Reaching the summit and looking across the ridge traverse to North Gardner reaffirmed our choice to leave that for another day. We did not find the register in the cairn, but also did not look too hard. We snapped a few photos and retreated to lower elevation for Max to recover--which he did quickly. The route down was fun, and we made our way back to the meadows. We rested for a while, then packed up and high-tailed it for the trailhead, making it out by 7 pm. The objective then became pizza and rootbeer.
Max bore the pain and suffering for this trip between nasty blisters and becoming ill--I am impressed by his attitude and tolerance, and thankful for his company.
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