Profile loop

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A long time dream, I got to share the Profile Loop with four great friends..

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This trip caused me a lot of anxiety. I was dragging some folks back in here who didn't really know what they were getting into. The weather was iffy. The road condition was unknown. Snow levels were suspect. It was a long route with a lot of gain, but no easy retreat. And I didn't really know what the terrain on the most remote part of the adventure might be like.

So for starters, we decided not to try to camp at Profile Gap for an early start because we simply didn't know if we could get there. The most recent road report said that only 'narrow vehicles' (read: ATVs) had gotten through. Then, Tom went a day early to bag some Warm Lake Summit peaks. And camp on his own the night before. So I got to worry about us all getting together.

So when we did in fact all meet at the right place at the right time, we quickly loaded everyone into my truck, and drove all the way to Profile Gap on a clear, dry road. No problem. So far, so good. Here's how the rest of the day went:

For reference, I had done the first part of this route with Julie on our anniversary in 2015.

About the same calendar date, but more snow this year.

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Dave on Crater Peak.

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Our view from Crater with #2 Willson in the center and #3 Big Creek Point on the right.

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Carrie is an angel from heaven.

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Pretty lakes.

Wonderful scenery was definitely one of the themes today.

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That's our route today, on the far ridge, with Parks Peak on the left. From there it's all downhill to the car unless..... well, there are three more peaks on the ridge after Parks if you are so inclined.

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More to the point, from the summit of Willson Peak (#2) the next peak here is Big Creek Point, with Profile Peak just to its left. Big Creek Point was our decision point: if the weather wasn't looking good or we weren't feeling right, it's the last place for a viable turnaround. Trailhead

Coming off Willson, we took advantage of the snow. A little soft (and wet) but it nicely covered up the talus and deadfall.

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Ruby surveys her domain, with others in the background.

Just shy of the top of Big Creek Point. In the TR for my trip here with Julie, there is a nice pic of Julie walking across this same snow patch.

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More domain. This is looking right down Big Creek. A few darker clouds rolling in....

The summit of Big Creek Point was our moment of truth: continue, or turnaround? Everyone felt fine, and the weather, while certainly not clear, didn't look totally threatening. Onward!

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Now on terrain new to me yet with ever-darkening skies, nearing Profile Peak (#4).

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Because I couldn't see the point in taking summit shots for each of our proposed 11 peaks, I hadn't taken any. I asked Carrie to hold up four fingers so the photos would indicate which peak this was. Hey, it worked!

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Scenery viewed from Profile Peak. Note the pointy peak between them. Trailhead
Same pointy peak as previous. On these summits, it pays to wander around to look off each side. Until then, I hadn't noticed the gorgeous lake. Trailhead

Summit of Peak 8615 (#5). Carrie was the first ascensionist.

Well, at least one summit shot today.....

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Dave atop Peak 8608 (#6). Trailhead
Tom mounts the summit of Peak 8569 (#7) Trailhead
Dan was doing a group shot of us on Peak 8569 when I realized how perfect the view behind him. We had been traversing the ridge in the background from right to left. Big country! Trailhead
Peak 8569 is part of a long, fairly level ridge. As we left the summit, this was our view of Parks Peak (#8). Look how close it is! Trailhead
We had to do some navigation to find a climbable route up Parks. Trailhead

Gaining the south ridge.

Once on the ridge, I was again on known territory from my climb of Parks in 2014.

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There's the summit.

Later we discussed how fatigue makes photography less interesting. I didn't really take any photos from the top, I just sat there gasping like a fish out of water.

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Then it was time for the long, long descent back to the Parks Creek trailhead. I knew from that previous trip we had about three hours of walking.

With that in mind, Tom, Dan, Carrie, and I decided to skip the last three planned peaks. Dave, however, went solo and did all three for a grand total of 11 for the day.

Meanwhile, this is looking into the East Fork South Fork canyon with lengthening shadows and a lot of descent still to go.

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That explains why I can't catch him: He's getting old.

(Turn sound on, please!)

Map

 

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