Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Baring" the Pain

About the time this picture was taken I was realizing that climbing Mount Baring was turning out to be a little more hard core than I had anticipated. I'm actually in the process of climbing down a seventy foot wall of soft snow backwards. It was a little nerve racking.
At 6,125 feet Mount Baring is not that tall of a mountain, but it is very imposing. It's slightly overhung 3,000 foot sheer north face has claimed the lives of many insane climbers and base jumpers alike. Luckily we stayed as far away from the north face as possible.

Can you see me in this picture? The town of Baring is a mile below us and Mount Persis is on the horizon at the right (I climber that in April). The weather on Wednesday was absolutely gorgeous. But that didn't keep this trip from taking 11 hours! Due to the complete lack of a trail, the crazy steep slopes, and the 4,000 foot elevation gain I was planning on maybe 8 hours. Throw in getting lost, scaling 45 degree mud slopes, questionable route finding, waffling, equipment failure, equipment recovering (after falling out of the bag and rolling downhill a LONG way), the aforementioned slush wall, and a little loitering and the extra three hours is understandable.
Despite all that this climb was awesome. My new crampons worked like a dream on their first run (thanks economic stimulus package and REI spring sale!). The views were dramatic and I caught a glimpse of ten of the mountains on my to-climb list. Most importantly, we actually made it to the summit.
Not bad for a Wednesday.

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