Saturday, January 18, 2014

Round and Noonmark. 2014-01-18

Given the slippery conditions, but many folks chose to "use their butts" to descend the numerous icy pitches on Round and Noonmark. With both peaks in the 3500' range, they experienced plenty of rain and freeze/thaw cycles. As a result there was no shortage of smooth ice to test traction aids and tailbones.

On Saturday, I joined a hiking trip, organized by MOAC, to Round and Noonmark. The icy conditions proved challenging for folks who were either on their first winter hike or first time wearing microspikes or crampons. "Butt sliding" occurred both by choice and by accident. The inch or two of fresh snow blanketing the ice was the culprit that caused most of the unplanned descents.

Kyle tests his new crampons.
Fortunately, none of the unscheduled a$$plants resulted in broken bones but many will have mementos in the form of impressive bruises and sore muscles. I witnessed one or two slides that could have resulted in injuries but fortune smiled on us. One individual attempted to arrest his luge-run by using his arm to put a head-lock on a tree. He got spun around and the resulting friction gave him an impressive case of "road rash" on his forearm and bicep. Ouch!

Peaceful beaver pond.
I brought but never used 12-point crampons. I wore Trail Crampons all day and they served me well. The conditions definitely warranted crampons but, as in all things, a little technique and experience, and luck, can go a long way. Sadly, I, once again, walked into a tree branch and drew blood from my forehead. Will this source of embarrassment never end?!?

The weather proved to be much better than the forecast had predicted. We enjoyed sunshine, dramatic clouds, and great views from the two summits. The route up Round was untracked and whoever had hiked to Noonmark from the north didn't make it to its summit. However, they left behind many imprints of their behinds. Sections of the icy route were swept clean of snow by their Zamboni-butts.

Lunch atop Round.

The icy conditions, and the choice to travel on one's glutes, extended the hike to an impressive nine hours. Everyone exited safely and a good time was had by all.


See all photos.

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