Yesterday I felt so rewarded for persevering in trying to get to the top of Cantata peak. I have made three prior attempts and have always gotten shut down by no visibility and combination's of rain and snow. To me its not really a peak I want to do in bad weather, there is a certain amount of route finding and the ability to retrace the route seems important. Plus I mainly hike for the views, and all that effort to look at whiteness is super unappealing.
Its about a 5.5 mile approach to get to the end of Eagle and Symphony lakes, and then the uphill going begins. The views of the lakes and surrounding mountains truly can be described as magnificent.
Doug and Robin with Symphony Lake Below (Eagle is barely visible)
The route up is pretty straight forward in good weather until you get to the actual peak. Its pretty funny that after about 7 miles and a 3,000 ft gain that the ascent truly begins. This peak reminds me of the mountains of Mordor, craggy, steep, loose and seemingly impenetrable. Only until your in the thick of it did the route reveal itself, and even then a little looking around was completely necessary.
Doug on the Black Shale Ridge
The left side of the ridge dropped pretty precipitously, and to say the trundling was fun is an understatement.
Robin and Doug Looking off the Edge
The hiking was steep and scrambly, but never unreasonable. Spots that were sketchy could be managed by taking another route. There was no snow on the south side of the peak and we were glad we left the tools, and crampons in the car.
We easily spent 45 minutes on the windless summit sitting in the sun and taking pictures. It was pretty awesome to see the entire length of the Indian to Arctic valley (I've ski slogged it a couple times). We could also see part of Turnagain arm, Denali, and out towards Marcus Baker. Outside of the haze, there was nothing obstructing the views.
It was still hot and sunny by the time we got back to the lowlands so we stopped for a foot soak in a pond...for Doug and Robin this turned into a body soak in the cool water....I couldn't stomach the thought of wet underwear and shoes.....
Doug in the Little Pond
I don't usually have a weight complex, its usually a matter of relativity, but yesterday I went out with two super micro people. I felt like a big fat bear, still fast and effective but large and lumbering next to these no-fat, lean little gazelles.