Hooper/Gemini/Senger

15 Sep 1996 - by Steve Eckert (view roster page)

None of the people on this trip are currently on the email lists, so I thought I'd put out something short. You can probably read all about it in a future issue of the SPS Echo.

This trip was an official SPS trip to be lead by Dave Dykeman and co-lead by Barbara Cohen. Barbara decided to take the trip private and do it in Dave's honor - we entered his name into all three summit registers. Barbara kept mentioning that Dave was close to having lead every peak on the SPS list, and was determined to make this trip a success as a memorial to him. I hear that Dykeman's Morgan & Morgan trip (Sep 28) has been cancelled.

Solid cloud cover greeted us Friday morning (9/13/96), a big surprise after the cloudless night and good weather forecasts. This was the Florence Lake trailhead, with no water at all in the lake making for a long walk. Halfway up the switchbacks from Blaney Mdw, it started to SNOW! About an inch stayed on the ground overnight at Sally Keys Lakes (10,200'), and left us all with dim hopes of climbing anything.

The good news is that the Mosquitoes of Doom are vanquished! (froze their little butts, they did) This was my first trip of the season with no bug juice and no bites at all.

Saturday was clear, but 25 degrees is a bit colder than expected for this time of year. The snow was still powdery (and about 2-3 inches deep) when we summited Senger. Half of the group annointed me as leader and decided to try Gemini, starting from Senger at 11am. (This allowed Barbara to finish all the peaks from the Florence trailhead, and she's really tired of the 800+ gain going up and down on the way out!) The footing was fine after a treacherous descent to Three Island Lake on old ice and loose rocks covered by fresh snow.

The rest of the day was very nice, with easy terrain and an efficient route back to Marie Lakes and Seldon Pass. It's all slabs and meadow if you do it right (contact me for details). One member of our group was slowing badly, and had to be badgered into walking at all, but we got back to camp around 9:30pm.

Sunday we bagged Hooper (take a rope and one huge sling - half the group wanted it due to a combo stem/mantle/step-across right at the summit block) and hiked out separately. It's a long way out (15 mi?) and to my surprise we split up at camp to allow each person maximum daylight. I got to my car about 7pm just as light rain began to fall, but don't know how far behind the others were. The clouds looked bad, however, and dropped low enough to become fog as I drove out past Huntington Lake.

Hey, folks, take that extra sweater! It's winter out there!


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