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Altair Peak—Death by Postholing

June 14 2010 at 6:59 PM
Score 5.0 (1 person)
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There's snow in them thar hills! George, John, Brandon and I were soon to discover just how cruel that snow could be. The last thing on our minds was the softening conditions as we climbed a near vertical rock step to the Altair-Pyramid saddle. Nor was it a big concern as we traversed 1000 feet on front points along the north side of Altair Peak. We had other things on our minds.

When we finally made the summit we were thrilled but exhausted. Unwilling to reverse our route, we decided that a glissade into Broad Canyon was the quickest way back. Little did we know that agony we were about to experience. Without snowshoes, the snow turned into a waist deep soup. Occasional loose talus offered some respite from the agony. What should have been a victory hike became an exhausting death crawl. Finally we climbed the SE ridge of Altair to escape the steep snow and return to Bellas Canyon where our adventure began.

We slept well.

Altair
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George on the rock step.
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John and George at the beginning of the 1000 foot traverse on the North Face.
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Brandon, John, George and I on the top.
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John displaying one legged crawl. George displaying classic all 4's technique.
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Easier ground on the SE Ridge of Altair. Standhope Peak in the background.
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