Thursday, August 11, 2011

Warning: Risk of severe injury ahead

Posted by Amy Baranski

I adore hiking and backpacking; aside from swimming they are my all-time favorite forms of exercise. While these two activities are not new to me I'm excited about this month. Practically speaking, backpacking and hiking prove difficult to attempt on a regular basis as I don't own a car (and never have). I wish there was a shuttle or carpool service for people who want to escape the city and go hiking. And it should be called My Sherpa. (Internet searching to commence shortly.)

Other than transportation, time also becomes an obstacle. Finding a suitable trail and ensuring I have the correct map and the essential gear to go hiking seem to require lots of time. As my mother-in-law says: "work expands to the time allotted." So perhaps I should approach this as speed-hiking month!

Given my other life priorities for this month it's likely I'll hike only twice, maybe three times. This weekend will hopefully result as one of those times. I'm renting a car and driving to Oregon to celebrate one of my mother's milestone birthdays. I'm considering hiking the the Columbia River Gorge, a childhood haunt, on Sunday or stopping off at Mount Saint Helen's, or Paradise on Mount Rainer. Not sure yet. Either way it will only be hiking, and not backpacking. Although I could weight a bag and carry it, just for fun.

Permit Zone Map Provided by
In two weekends we (Melissa, Jamie, Bob and I) head out to The Enchantments. While we did not pull the Core Enchantments permit we are permitted to camp in the 8 mile/Lake Caroline Zone. (The new permit reservation system was very confusing).

I've been to Leavenworth, but I've never done the Enchantments. I so am thrilled to be in that wilderness area. In fact, my husband and I have decided, weather and conditions permitting, to attempt to summit Mount Cashmere. If completed, this will be my highest summit. My two records are 4,167 feet and 6,102 feet. We talked to the ranger the other day and Windy Pass is clear, which is somewhere around 7,200 feet. Cashmere peaks at 8,501 feet elevation. Seems like I go up by 2,000 feet elevation each time. So in 2-4 years I'll take on Rainier (more on that later).

From what I can tell, the rating for Cashmere ranks at technically moderate. Does this mean I need a helmet and rope? Geez I hope not. From a post on it sounds like if you have good route finding skills the scramble is mostly Class 2 with some Class 3 sections. Which, according to the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) is defined as:
"Steeper scrambling with increased exposure and a greater chance of severe injury, but falls are not always fatal."

Just don't fall.

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