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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Guye Peak/East Route

Despite a less than inviting forecast (60% chance of rain up to 6/10ths of an inch, thundercells possible, more rain possible in thundercell), this trip on a challenging exposed rock and steep forest scramble went successfully with not a drop of rain. Summer forecasts need to be interpreted differently than winter ones...!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We found a new route variation!  This started with the usual difficulty determining exactly when to turn left from the steep forest section to locate the ledge that carries over into the rock gully.  I turned about 50 to 75 too low, and the generally damp conditions in the steep forest below the cliff band (still wet from the previous night's rain, although our actual trip was dry) did not allow us to safely move up through the cliff bands on mossy rock.  So we continued contouring to the south, edging into the steep terrain and clinging to vegetable belays, until we finally entered the gully about that same distance below the usual entry point.  There was one challenging little chute, but the party handled it well, then we were back on the usual route.  It's actually good to know that this lower entry into the gully works, because now I know that it's not critical to enter the gully at just the one spot.

Saturday, July 9, 2016.  The main challenge was the weather forecast, which wasn't all that positive.  Several people cancelled the night before or the morning of, which was completely understandable given that it was steadily raining in Seattle much of the night before.  We did have a backup plan, but when we met in the Commonwealth Basin/PCT TH a little after 9 am, it was dry and it stayed dry all day until we returned to the parking lot around 4 pm (about 6 hours of actual movement time, not counting longer breaks, pre-trip introductions and orientation, etc.).  We found a new route variation to bridge the often-awkward routefinding between the steep forest ascent and the rock gully below the main face.  Otherwise, all went well.  We took a mostly conservative, but still fun and sporty, route on the main face: although the rock was dry, some of the moss on the rock was still wet.  The party members, a mix of this year's scramble students and a couple of grads/Basic grads handled the "one freaky move" right below the true summit well (as usual, the most awkward move was figuring out how to contort pack, trekking poles, and body under the little overhanging ledge and then stand up in balance below the final crack -- several people had difficulties negotiating this section, but we resolved them, one at a time).  We didn't have spectacular range-wide views, but we had views to all the immediately-adjacent ridges, and several sun breaks.  Given the less-than-promising forecast, this turned into an excellent and confidence-building day in the mountains on this sporty and vertical T5 rock scramble!