Yesterday I had a chance to climb a route that had been on my list for almost a decade. It’s a funny thing how a climbing route can languish, move down the list, and are eventually be forgotten before they suddenly pop back to the top of the list. New York Gully on Mount Snoqualmie was such a route for me. I remember getting my first copy of Selected Climbs in the Cascades and drooling over the photo of the dihedral pitch on NY Gully. On the list it went, even though it was too hard for me at the time. Eventually, it was forgotten.
Fast forward ten years. The NY Gully reared up to the top of my list a couple weeks ago since it’s close to my new home in Seattle and on a big alpine face I’ve never climbed. I’ve been waiting for good snow conditions to check out the route and a weather window to make it happen. We’re in the middle of a prolonged high pressure weather pattern with a solid melt/freeze cycle and resultant walkable surface crust. The time had come.
Forest and I have been doing a lot of climbing and skiing together this autumn. As a result, we are quite comfortable in the mountains together and our systems are dialed. We have a flow that can only develop with time, shared experience, and trust. Somewhere in the middle of the steep north face of Mt. Snoqualmie–as I hung on the anchor at a semi-hanging stance–I realized that I am really fortunate to have such a solid climbing partner and good friend. We never rushed and often found ourselves chatting about the mysteries of life, relationships, and the mountains. The sheer lack of stress made it feel like we were enjoying a chat in the coffee shop, not clinging to the shady north side of an alpine face. I’m glad that I waited ten years to climb the route.
Yet another fantastic alpine day in the Cascades!