Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mount Constance 9/15-9/17/2006

Our team of five hiked to Lake Constance along one of the steepest trails in Washington's Olympic National Park (ONP). We base camped near the lake then, the following morning, attempted to summit Mount Constance via the South Chute in Avalanche Canyon. This three day backpacking trip resulted in a complex mixture of joy, awe, misery, triumph, astonishment, and accomplishment - all necessary ingredients for a truly memorable adventure.

We survived the summit attempt nearly unscathed. Crushed/cut fingers, bruises, scratches, back & PFL strains were overcome without complaint.

Survival was indeed the theme for this adventure - surviving the gnarly, root-grabbing, hands & knees approach to Lake Constance, establishing base camp while assaulted with hail and rain showers, testing our knowledge by administering a survival IQ test (our outdoors skills are "dialed" but we need help driving), hopping between truck-sized boulders while maintaining our balance amongst acres of rock, and dodging more granite than I care to document while ascending talus fields which comprise the South Chute.

The scenery was awesome and wild. As you will see in the pictures below, Avalanche Canyon is truly a special place, as are the South Chute of Mt. Constance, and Lake Constance below. Alpine wilderness such as this can be fully experienced by those willing to endure and appreciate the tests and trials of stamina, while appreciating small triumphs of accomplishment, and the grandness of their surroundings.

The trip pictures below capture a few of the scenic features mentioned above.

Note on picture size: Click on picture for a LARGER view.

Trailside Waterfall Posted by Picasa

Trail To Constance Lake Posted by Picasa

Trailside View Posted by Picasa

Lake Constance Posted by Picasa

Lake Constance Posted by Picasa

View From Lake Posted by Picasa

Gnarly Rock In Canyon Posted by Picasa

Trekking Through Avalanche Canyon Posted by Picasa

Avalanche Canyon & Crystal Pass Posted by Picasa

South Chute Posted by Picasa

South Chute Closeup Posted by Picasa

Climbing the Chute Posted by Picasa

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