Saturday, December 3, 2022

And winter returns. #5 Mt. Willey

UGH, after a glorious run, Winter arrived. 

The photo gives it away. We decided to tackle Willey for the Fall season. Last winter we tried to do it from this side and the ladders were an icy death waterfall of doom, so we bailed. They were fine this time, the trail was essentially ok (except for the fact that it's one of those trails that nobody talks about, but a good part of it is a steep little skank.)

The biggest issue with this day was the COLD. Like real full blown winter bullshit. 24 at the base, 17 at the top. Big winds scheduled for the day so we made it a one peak day, and were happy we made that choice. 

Despite the cold, it was very pretty. 

We did not linger long at the Summit. We knew the relative calm wasn't going to last, and we don't want to be anywhere near the summit when the winds start howling (we could hear them in the distance, roaring like a freight train.)

The thing about Willey is that it is quite protected until you reach the summit. On this day, we knew the trail was on the right side of the hill to avoid the better part of the wind, even if it kicked up early. We had considered adding Field as it's awfully easy to scoot over there. But nope, it was an easy choice to bail. With the temp at 17 there was just no margin for error, so away we went. 

Remember just a couple weeks back when we were hiking in tank tops? No more. 

Anyway. We made it down no problem (except my micro spikes keep catching on each other, or on my new boots. So I fell. TWICE and was PISSED.) But then we went to get a hot chocolate to cheer up after the cold cold day. 
We definitely had a conversation about how the weather was exactly what had been forecast, and how it would have been a really lousy day to head above treeline. Unfortunately, not long after we got home we heard word of a missing hiker on Franconia Ridge. Tragically, we all know how that turned out and it certainly is a good reminder to take these mountains very seriously, even it is technically still Fall.


Peaks: 1

Miles: 5.25

Elevation: 2998

Fun: Ugh, it wasn't the most fun but that's life 

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