After a failed attempt on Cathedral Peak due to very deep snow and awful weather, we decided to attempt an easier mountain, one that would allow us a fairly good chance of success. We chose Mount Guyot near Georgia Pass. During the summer time, you can drive all the way up to Georgia Pass at 11,585 and the hike then becomes a stiff climb up Guyot’s east ridge. We were wondering how far up we would be able to drive. It turned out that we got to within 2.5 miles of the pass when the road became barricaded by deep snow. That was perfectly fine with us since the hike became your average 6 miles, 2500 foot elevation gain snow hike. That seemed a little more reasonable than a quick hike up a ridge that started right at tree line.
We put on our snowshoes and headed up the road. We were wondering if we should bother bringing our ice axes since Guyot is normally a very easy hike. We opted to be safe rather than sorry. We didn’t hike very long until the road made a giant switch back. We decided to then bypass the road and head straight up valley and make our own route to Georgia Pass. We ended up saving a decent amount of distance this way. It wasn’t hard at all to find our way through the trees and up to the pass, although we did have to climb about 150 feet up a fairly steep snow slope. At Georgia Pass we took a break and had some food then headed up.
We were planning on making a circuit and climbing down one of the south ridges on the peak (on the east side of the big southern cirque) so we lashed our snowshoes on to our packs and headed up the talus strewn ridge. We lost our perception of how high we were and came over a false summit and saw that we had a lot longer way to go. The ridge continued up then turned north and headed for the snowy summit. Thank goodness for the ice axes. Eventually, we were in front of the final snow pitch up a fairly steep snow ridge. We left our snowshoes here and headed up. The snow was in perfect condition for kick-stepping and not using crampons. As we were heading up, we noticed the weather worsening in the distance. Although it was fairly still on the ridge, it looked blustery and rainy in the distance. On top, the wind picked up and we paused only for an instance to take pictures.
On the way down, we picked up our snowshoes and headed for the split in the east ridge which led to our chosen descent route. There turned out to be a giant snowfield perfect for glissading so we quickly slid down about 1200 feet of elevation. Another great glissade! Last spring, the best glissades were on Buffalo, Hagar, and Apache peaks. This was definitely second best behind Buffalo (I doubt and glissade will be able to top Buffalo). Anyway, we were down into the valley in no time and enjoyed a pleasant hike out. At one point, Ken was crossing a stream and his right snowshoe popped through and got stuck in the running water. I had to haul him out. Very funny moment.