SUCCESS! The summit was attained for (half) our group! The view from the top was, as you can see above, magnificent.
The first day was uneventful and boringly according to plan. We left Bunny on time, slogged up the scree and hit camp by 4 pm. Dinner, consisting of a couple varieties of instant boil-a-meal camp food, was wolfed down and we were soon tucked away in our sleeping bags with the sun still shining, trying to grab a few hours sleep before Saturday’s Alpine Start.
The next morning started off well as we each got used to the crampons, were elated by our light packs, and began the hike with relatively fresh legs. However, our merriment was soon tempered by a fierce wind forcing us down to hands and knees as we slowly worked our way up the heart. Keeping strong we waited for the sun to rise our savior: with its appearance the wind died down, the day became perfect and the trek continued. At the base of Misery Hill we lost half our group: Jocelyn was too dehydrated to continue and the altitude cut the feet out from under Daniel, also forced to nap at (in?) Misery. Karen and I trudged on until our endeavor reached its successful end.
I enjoy browsing the GPS track: our slow ascent, jagged and dense, knotted with our many breaks; then to compare with the smooth track of our rapid descent is almost comical, but gives an excellent impression of our toils.
We learned good lessons from our experience last year: don’t take too much stuff. Drink water. Camp below Helen. Red Banks are long! Remember to breathe. Glissading is awesome.