| North Star Mountain - East Ridge
North Star - East Ridge
After spending most of the winter climbing ice, I was beginning to suffer severe AWS symptoms (Altitude Withdrawal Syndrome!). It was time to experience the ecstatical feelings (labored breath, dry throat, pounding heart, and slight hypoxia, etc ) associated with high altitude once more! My friend and climbing partner Steve couldn't agree with me more. So we set out for the infamously windy North Star Peak.
In true alpine fashion , we set out from the summit of Hoosier Pass at roughly 9:30 am. I was a little worried about the time, but figured we should be fine because this climb is pretty straightforward. Steve was further encouraging by reminding me that we had an extra hour due to daylight savings time. I had my headlamp, so I wasn't too worried about it. My thoughts on the late start quickly vanished as I became enamoured once more by the alpine environment.
There was a varying 3-5 inches of fresh snow from the storms the day before, and all the trees had a winter wonderland effect of being covered in rime
Silverheels showing it's mighty, monolithic self
We made our way up the initial hill, staying through the trees to the north to make sure we stayed off avalanche terrain. We took a short break at the abandoned metal mining shack before taking on the first of North Star ridge's 3 summits.
We climbed up between the rocks on the north side (climber's right) shown in the picture above to make sure we stayed in avy safe terrain. Once at the top of the 1st mini summit of North Star, the ridge proper began.
I was pretty excited at this point, for this is where I had made it to last winter before being turned around (and twice blown over!) by extreme winds and fierce cold. The weather could not have been better, and we were off and running. I mean stepping x50 + panting =
From here the ridge was fun, but a bit arduous. It was a good yet challenging warm up for the season, providing a little bit of scrambling (for those who seek it) and snowclimbing along a very scenic walkway in the sky!
Shortly, we were at the summit of North Star's 2nd mini-summit, and we were shown the way to our goal, the main summit.
A few more upclimbs and downclimbs brought us to our ultimate goal, the 3rd and main summit of North Star. The weather on top of the views were the perfect topping to a great day of climbing! Crystal, Pacific, Atlantic, Fletcher could be seen quite well
Quandary's famous Cristo Coulouir can be seen here:
After a few bites and murmuring that "North Star should have been named Triple Star", we contemplated the descent back to the car would be a bit more challenging than most descents due to the re-gaining of elevation that must be done along the ridge.
So off we went, having a great time and relatively easy and stress-free descent. Looking back along our route, it was a great way to finish off the winter with a peak that I had waited a year to re-climb!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):