Royal Sunset

2008-04-06 08:28:30.000 – Ryan Buckley,  Summit Intern

Last night’s sunset was the most spectacular sunset that I have ever seen. With an undercast covering the west landscape the sun sank beneath the clouds. Accents of gold turned into colors as noble as Phoenician Purple.

The clock stuck three (obs time) and I was gone, 10 hours of work behind me, I geared up for a peaceful time alone in the mountains. Thoughts scattered from weeks of working on a project riddled with road blocks, the realization of turning 21, the up coming summer classes in the city and for a few other reasons that needed defragmentation and solidification into simple terms to make room for up coming thoughts that have not yet occurred.

Heading down to the Parking Lot Gully, I practiced a bit of rappelling and snow anchor placement. I met up with a gentleman that was on his way down Tuckerman Trail so I walked with him for awhile but I was not in a rush to hike down the mountain so we parted ways and before I knew it he had disappeared from sight. I found a nice rock to set my pack against, but for fear of falling asleep (which I have been know to do on fall hikes below tree line and have been given the name Rip Van short for Rip Van Winkle) I sat up and took a few pictures of the partial under cast on the south side of the mountain.

Once getting to the top of Tuckerman Ravine I had to think about the route back up to the summit. After calculating the pros and cons of sun and shadow, wind direction, and prospective view the decision was easy. I headed up Southside Trail in order to get to the west side of the mountain where the undercast had the greatest prospect of brilliancy.

Just before connecting with Davis Trail, Mike called up on the radio to say he was heading out for a hike on the opposite side of the mountain that I was on. Davis Trail Runs into Crawford Path which starts to scale the summit cone. I climbed half way up the summit cone when Mike and I spotted each other. He glissaded down I hiked up to meet him. We scoured the side of the mountain for the best view. Mike sat down then I went about 50 yards to another viewing spot in order to stay out of each others natural space.

The sun sank slowly and awe came over me as I realized that this was a view that few had experienced due to the risk that is incurred by staying on the summit of any mountain after dark. There were no words expressed on the hike back up to the summit between Mike and I. Petzl Head Lamps clicked on the only exchange of communication was a hand clasp once we reached the top; no words could explain the five senses in few enough words to have any meaning.


Ryan Buckley,  Summit Intern

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