Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Dragon's Tail

Mount Sacajawea in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. I love this mountain. And I love climbing it by this route, which follows the ridge pictured here, "The Dragon's Tail", to the summit above. It is a classic mountain ridge ascent with all characteristics of such. A beautiful approach, a very steep gain to the top of the ridge while still in the trees, and then a long narrow back which at times requires some moderately technical scrambling, and provides over a thousand feet of vertical exposure in some spots. The type of view you look down on and vertigo pulls you towards it, almost as if you feel gravity reaching up from the ground far below and grabbing you by the shirt collar, pulling you down like a drowning man. Best not to stare too long at times like that! Just keep climbing. Look at where you put your hands and feet instead! However this route doesn't require you to navigate up those exposures. It follows along the top of them instead, and sometimes around large outcrops along the ridge line, breaking across the tops of long scree slopes. That's the beauty of a classic ridge ascent. It carries you to the top while revealing the beauty of the mountain in all it's splendor. So far this is my favorite mountain I have climbed. I continue to go back and climb it, and photograph it. Drawn there like a moth to flame.

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