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When I parted ways with Ryan and Tony, I hung around Silverton for awhile, waiting out the intermittent rain showers, enjoying cell service for once. Eventually I decided to drive up to Clear Lake and find a good spot to camp, since all the day tourists should be gone by late afternoon on Labor Day holiday. The drive up wasn't too bad, only a couple of rocks and slopers to drive over.
At the lake I sat at a slightly higher parking area and finished reading a Crichton book and started in on Dante's Inferno (because why not?). Eventually the sun came out and I set out my solar panel to charge my external battery a little.
I also had plenty of time to contemplate things. After 5 days of hanging out with and hiking with friends, V5 would be my first 'solo' of the trip. It's no secret that I've solo'd most of my 13ers. It's not always by choice, since it's hard to motivate anyone to go hike 13 blah blah blah's with a 12 hour RT drive involved. So soloing is merely the best way for me to do what I like to do, when I want to do it. My schedule of working weekends (mostly) also does not help things. I do tend to have more fun hiking with others. Since how else would you be able to laugh about crappy loose descents than by reminding partners of those pounding descents that sucked?
While reading my books, a group of Oklahoman's and their dogs took over my camp spot, and seemed intent on having an illegal campfire, so I moved down the road and actually closer to where I would start the hike anyway.
The next morning I woke up as early as I could force myself, since I figured the sunrise would be great. But I barely managed to get moving before the sun started hitting the peaks above me.
The talus heading up to the mining road was covered in icy verglace, and made travel a bit slow and slippery. I went straight up the slope, instead of following the actual road, so that also made it worse than it could have been. I wanted to gain elevation quickly for the sunrise shots, so I put up with the nasty ice. Once up on the road, travel was much easier again.
Ryan had mentioned to not take the gully to the left, but go to the one on the right. As I got to that spot, I didn't like either option. Just to the south of the main gully, is a perfectly nice, grassy, gentle slope. No loose rocks to worry about, just nice grass. The gully may be slightly more direct, but my way is more efficient and less erosive.
The ascent up the grassy slope went pretty quickly, though nearing the ridge, it became more rocky. These rocks also had the same covering in verglace, so I had to tread carefully now. Sooooooo glad I didn't follow Ryan's advice on the gully, I'd be in the thick of the slippery icy rocks for most of the ascent!
I got to the notch in the ridge, and saw a fun class 4 chimney to climb up. There was a dirty scree class 2 option a little below it, but I was feeling sporting this morning.
Once up the chimney, you turn right and go up a grassy - rocky slope to the ridge.
Once up on the ridge, the route to the summit is clear ahead and the views spread out.
From there the trek to the summit was easy, if only having to watch out for slippery icy rocks along the way. While I had summitted early, I would have to wait awhile for the rocks to warm up, so that I wouldn't accidentally slip down the Richarson gully...
Waiting a while on the summit allowed the sun to get high enough that I could see the peaks to the east better.
Eventually I had to descend, even if I didn't want to. I had a long drive home, that wasn't getting done enjoying the views. But with it being such and easy access peak, I'll be back.
At this point, I decided to continue down the ridge to the south, instead of heading down my grassy slope directly to the mining road.
The views improved as I walked down the nice tundra ridge. There were even cairns. I was quite pleased with the decision to tack on a little extra mileage for the easier terrain.
Back at the truck, I went back to the lake for a few photos, and then headed home. I didn't get all the peaks I had planned on the trip due to weather, but I had tons of fun hiking with friends and hanging out with them at camp. Why do people solo hike again?
Any peak(s) stand out from the Clear Lake/Ice Lake Basin area as your favorites? Have you finished the peaks in that area now?
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