Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Great Silence (AKA Matterhorn Peak: The Final Ascent 4/7)

“We finally got to the foot of the Matterhorn where there was a most beautiful small lake unknown to the eyes of most men in this world, seen by only a handful of mountain climbers, a small lake at eleven thousand some odd feet with snow on the edges of it and beautiful flowers and a beautiful meadow, an alpine meadow, flat and dreamy upon with I immediately threw myself and took my shoes off.”(Kerouac, Jack. Dharma Bums. (New York: Penguin Group, 1986, P. 80)
This is looking back at the pass. There is usually snow here during the summer, and it forms a small pond. Turning left one can finally see the final ascent that needs to be made to the top.
There is still around a thousand feet to go. When you are there it seems a lot closer than it is. A lot of work is left to be done. The point in the middle at the top is Matterhorn Peak from “the backside”. Not as interesting to look at as the front of it.

“Japhy started up walking very rapidly and then even running sometimes where the climb had to be to the right or left along ridges of scree. Scree is long landslides of rocks sand and, very difficult to scramble through, always little avalanches going on.”(Ibid., P.81)

After all you have been through, this part of the climb is both mentally and physically challenging because of the scree. Every two steps up on the ascent you end up sliding back one step or both.
This shows the easiest class two route to take. If one is comfortable with a little more technical climb then one can go directly up.
Looking toward the south into Yosemite. Some other mountains I have climbed are in this picture. I will mention them later. I like to refer to this rock you see as “The Thing”. Notice the mouth, nose, and closed eye on its partial face?
Right before you get to the top you can finally see some of the other side. This is what Sawtooth Ridge looks like from this point of view. I'll cover the summit in the next two blogs.