A little local advice goes a long way

Mike Tralsin after snow bridge colapse

I first heard about Mt. Ruth in early March after meeting a friendly local from the town of Glacier, Washington. I gushed to her about the classics in the area - Mt, Baker, Mt Shuksan, and all the great climbing and skiing routes there. "Yes those are great peaks,” she agreed, “but Mt. Ruth is where you need to go. It’s a remote peak, however it’s easy to get to, and on a clear day the views will take your breath away." After that brief exchange, Ruth Mountain was engraved on my mind.

Photo Andy Traslin...Photo Andy Traslin...

Five months later I found myself unpacking the car at the Hannegan Campground, ready to embark on a fun adventure. The hike starts on the Hannegan Pass Trail (674) and leads up to Hannegan Pass (5000ft), where my brother and I happily transitioned to skis. We were amazed how much snow there was for August. Leaving the parking lot at 8:30, we reached the summit by noon. As the local woman had promised, the view was spectacular. To our right we could see Nooksak Towers, Mt. Shuksan, and Mt. Baker. Straight ahead was Icy Peak backdropped by Mt Rainier. A little to the left we could see the Picket Range with Glacier Peak in the distance.

photo Andy Traslinphoto Andy Traslin

Our next objective was Icy Peak, but we decided first to eat, drink, and take a quick nap. The nap turned into a two hour siesta, which may have lasted longer if it was not for the quiet steps in the distance that awoke me from my sleep. I saw a familiar face approaching. “Stephen!” I shouted as he gained the short distance to the summit. Yet, another reminder that we live in a small world, Stephen, a friend and fellow mountaineer, was on a solo jaunt after some family time in Seattle. After a good conversation, Andy and I were off to ski the North Face of Ruth Mountain. The skiing was fun with no incident. I wish I could say the same for the hike out, but I managed to fall eight feet on a weak snow bridge (the same snow bridge we crossed in the morning). Luckily I landed on two feet and came out with all body parts intact. As we reached the car we were stoked about our accomplished mission, however we soon realized that we locked the keys in the car. Shortly thereafter, we found Stephen again, who drove my brother back to the town of Glacier, where the real adventure began.

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