This is one of the best mountains in the southern Wasatch.
I first climbed Cascade last summer, but it was just a hike up trails/ridges. Nothing too intense. The mountain has the good fortune of being covered in very appealing snow couloirs in the winter and spring. They’re obviously not super safe to climb in winter, but they’re great in spring. I decided last week that I was going to climb up one of them. The plan wasn’t to summit the mountain (the true summit is a couple miles north of where I had planned on topping out, and I’d been there last year), but just to go up a gully and come down.
After a couple days of false starts (not wanting to get out of bed when my alarm went off at 5), I finally decided to just do the thing. So I got up at 8, got ready, left at 8:30, and was out of the car and hiking by 9:30. One cool thing about the particular gully that I chose is that it starts right off the road. You park and start hiking up it. Very cool. There wasn’t any snow for the first ten minutes and 300 vertical feet, but then I hit it.
The snow was nice and hard and I put my crampons on. An hour after starting (starting elevation is 7,100’) I was about a thousand feet up. At 11:30 (after 2 hours), I was at 9,500’. After that I got out of the couloir and onto a ridge where the snow was softer and deeper, making for slower going. I also had to scramble up a couple fourth class/easy fifth class rock bands. At 12:50 I was on top of the summit ridge (10,600).
By this time it was getting windier and colder, so I was only too happy to be getting down (at 1:00). I didn’t want to have to go through that deep snow and downclimb the rock steps, though, so I decided to head down one of the gullies on the west side of the mountain. I glissaded (slid down on my butt) for the first 1,500’ or so, which was a little bit painful but was super fast. Then I had to down climb another couple rock bands (they weren’t as steep or tall as the ones on the ascent, though). The snow ended eventually and I made it back to the dirt road that my car was parked on (at 2:00; 7,600’). That’s coming down three thousand vertical feet in an hour! Nice! The only problem was that my car was parked 2.2 miles further up the road. So I set off and made it back to the car at 2:45.
On the way back home, I saw a moose by the side of the road. I ended the day with a bit of slacklining with friends.
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