January 1st, 2020
~ submitted by John Young
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve summited Mt. Arrowsmith for the annual New Year’s Day expedition, but it must be at least 10. The first year I participated was in 2001, and I climbed it in my backcountry touring skiboots. They provided great support, but were heavy and of course cumbersome. But there was a lot of snow that year, right from the parking lot off Pass Main, and they were great for kicking steps.
Before leading this year’s climb I was apprenhensive:
- after a 6-week trip to Mexico I wasn’t in the best of shape. Could I handle it?
- of the 7 others in our group, I didn’t know 3. Would they all be okay?
- there have been three accidents in recent years on this climb, and I fretted about the conditions. Would it be icy and treacherous?
Thankfully, though, my fears were unfounded. Everyone did just fine, and it was probably the easiest winter climb I’ve had up Arrowsmith with good snow conditions, for the most part.
The trail was bare of snow until we’d hiked up for about 1/2 hour.
The snow became progressively deeper, but was hard, and for the most part we had good traction in the steps from previous climbers.
And it was warm until we emerged from the tree line close to the summit, when we were blasted by a brisk wind!
With beautiful rime on the trees and rocks.
We didn’t spend much time on top!
Descending was quite easy, as the snow had softened up.
And after we got out of the wind, we stopped for lunch, and to feed the whiskey jacks!
Before long, we were out of the snow
and back to the trailhead.
What a great way to start the year!
Thanks to Bob Yip for contributing photos to this page.