Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mt. Shuksan Skills and Climb

 A few weeks ago I guided a trip up Mt. Shuksan.  I have said for a while now that photography and guiding go hand in hand, and this trip really reminded me that this is true.  I don't like being out in the rain, but guides in the Pacific Northwest spend a lot of their time putting on a happy face and pretending to have fun in the rain.  Its often cold, miserable, and not really that much fun.  So what does that have to do with photography?  Often times the most dramatic skys and the best views are not found in sunny warm weather, in my experience they are found just after really crappy weather, as the clouds start to break and sun peaks through.  Photography is all about lighting, and this trip made for some interesting photo opportunities.  Below are some photos from the weekend.

The North Cascades at dusk. 
Mt. Baker at sunrise.

The thing that made this three day trip really great was the fact that we did have one day of good weather.  So on the second day we made a break for the summit of Mt. Shuksan.  Its almost winter up there, and the conditions were more like a spring climb then a early fall climb.
Mt. Baker with a perfect cloud cap on top.
Interesting clouds over the summit pyramid of Mt. Shuksan.
Approaching the summit pyramid. 
Ruth climbing into the belay.
Looking down the route at the group below.
This really feels like winter climbing.  Ruth midway up the route. 
Half way up the route. 

Looking down the summit ridge with Mt. Baker in the background. 
Ruth on the summit ridge with the summit behind her.  She is sitting down because of high winds. 

Mitchel and Matt making the last few steps to the top. 
Summit shot. 
Heading down from the summit pyramid. 
Ruth back at camp after the summit. 
We all woke up some time after midnight with high winds and lots of rain.  I packed the camera deep in my pack surrounded by two garbage bags for the very wet hike out.  Summer in the Cascades is over! 
--Alasdair Turner, Instructor and Guide

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