After a very lazy afternoon on day 3, we went to bed early. Probably around 7:00 pm. There was no one else at Camp Sherman but our climbing group and we all went to bed right after dinner. With no distractions, I slept great. But it was an early wake up on day 4 for our descent.
The decision was made to get up around 6:00 am, break camp, eat breakfast and get off the mountain so we could head home for hamburgers and showers. The morning was clear with not a cloud in sight. It was pretty spectacular looking up the mountain in the rising sun.
We had to be roped up for this first part of the descent. There were still all sorts of hazards around us, including the large crevasse right off the side of Camp Sherman.
We did get to take a couple breaks along the way. Some were just little short stops to de-layer, others were formal breaks where we dumped our packs and grabbed a bite to eat. At one stop I was able to get a good photo looking back up the Inter Glacier. You can see the streaks in the snow going up that slope. Those are the tracks that we glacaded down. That entire slope had to be somewhere between 700 – 900 feet of vertical. That was pretty fun. It was so high, that you could not see the bottom while standing at the top and vise-versa. It wasn’t until I got a good distance away from it that I could take a photo of the entire slope.
Once we got off the snow the hike turned into a single track dirt trail and we were off to the races to get to the trail head. We had one last break, at the spot along the White River where the maintained trail ended. After that it was a quick 90 minutes or so to the bottom.
Once at the bottom the climbing clothes came off and the clean clothes we stowed away came out. We separated our group gear, changed clothes and loaded up the van and trailer and headed back to Seattle.
We made one stop for food in Enumclaw for beers and burgers. That seems to be the traditional Alpine Ascents post climbing meal. We’ve had three of the now. Once back in Seattle we hopped a cab to the house and took showers. It wasn’t that late, maybe around 7:00 pm, so we decided to take the lap top and walk up to the Maple Leaf Grill and have dessert and check out our photos from the climb. We hadn’t been able to see them except on the camera’s tiny screen. So we walked up there and had a very good dessert of a giant chocolate brownie topped with a giant scoop of ice cream.
I should note that we both felt pretty good. Other than our legs being sore from the descent, we felt pretty good. We had gone from the trail head at 4,301 feet to Camp 1 at 7,838 feet to Camp Sherman at 9,513 to the summit at 14,411 in three days. Our descent on summit day was just under 5,000 feet and our descent on day 4 was a little over 5,000 feet. The only time things felt sore was when we stopped moving. Being cramped up in the van for two hours as we drove back to Seattle sucked. Waking up the first morning after we got home sucked. But once we got moving, it wasn’t terrible. It was noticeable, but it wasn’t terrible. Neither of us had any knee or other joint issues during the climb, descent or the days after we got home.
So? Now what? We summitted a mountain we had set out to climb two years ago. And when we were finished we felt tired, but we felt good.
Well, we talked about it the weekend after the climb and during our drive back to Boise. And we’ve decided.