Benign Peak - What a way to finish off a 4 day vacation!
After a 13 hour day bushwacking Icicle Creek on Monday, a cloudy, windy, buttslide-y Indianhouse on Tuesday, and a hardcore Service bouldering sesh on Wednesday (OK, not THAT hardcore!) I needed one more peak to cap off the vacay. Benign!
Benign has had my attention for a while. It's a B peak, it's over 7k feet, and it seems straightforward with very rewarding sights on a clear day. I also had the good fortune of reading recent beta regarding snow conditions on Benign - it looked good to go, as long as you got up and down early! With a lot of snow remaining in the CSP, combined with hot June afternoons, the mountains are shedding. Ie, avalanching!
With that I mind, I was riding my bike around Eklutna by 5:30am and ditching it at Serenity Falls by 6:30am. Unlike Monday's misadventure, I had taken the time to have a good look at the route for Benign. That meant I felt confident in climbing fast, and pretty soon, I was on the massive moraine bench that circled around Benign to the SE gully.
Serenity Falls center left, with scree field and Dead Goat gully just to the right
Looking up Dead Goat gully
Above Deadgoat, ascending to the moraine.
It turns out the SE gully was an absolute mess of avalanche debris. The mere sight of it took me aback, and I wondered if I was too late despite my hurrying. After a couple hundred feet, it was obvious that the nasty snow was still completely frozen solid and safe to ascend. Keeping my eyes and ears peeled for signs of melt, I started upward, spurred by the fact I knew I was on a time limit.
Looking down the SE gully at frozen avy debris
I reached the summit quickly, with no sound or indication of the snowpack destabilizing. It seemed that the previous night or two had been very cold, as the bright morning sun did little to change the snow consistency... But enough about the snow! The views up here were simply stunning - Eklutna Lake, Bold, Bashful, Baleful, the Mitre, Eklutna glacier, far and wide into the park. It was incredible, and miraculously, the day was turning out wall to wall sunny without even the slightest breeze.
I spent a few minutes, and headed down.
Summit pano. Left to right - Eklutna lake, Bold, Bashful, Baleful, the Mitre, Ovis, Eklutna glacier, and Peril
Quick video. Didn't bring my usual camera gear and I regret it!
On the way back to Serenity, I stopped for some photos on the moraine bench. Hard to beat this vantage point! A bushplane or two flew between the Mitre and I, looking like tiny little specks compared to the scale of the mountains.
Looking down at the entrance to Deadgoat
It was a sunny, pleasant ride back around Eklutna - one of those days where you just smile to yourself, completely happy and content with the world.
Post a Comment