Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ascent Of Warbonnet Peak, 1982*

In 1982, our young family lived in Minerva Park, a northeast suburb of Columbus, in a really nice big house on a 1/3 acre wooded lot, Vicki a teacher/librarian in Westerville, and I a freshly-minted Ph.D. in philosophy, working as assistant to the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. (It's a long story). Rebecca was 8 years old and Rachel 2. As a teacher, Vicki had her summers off. As a state employee, I had the standard two weeks. So, more than once in a July or August, we would load up our VW camper Thursday night, and Vicki and the girls would pick me up at 5PM Friday at the corner of Broad and High, and we would take turns driving straight through to Jackson or Pinedale or wherever. We would do family hikes and horse rides, see the attractions, go on float trips, maybe meet up with friends or relatives. And I would do some solo climb or other, sometimes successful, sometimes not. In 1982, we drove over to Big Sandy Opening, Vicki and the girls stayed in the camper, and I walked in to climb Warbonnet and see the Cirque of Towers from above. It was planned to be a one-day walk-in/walk-out, and that is how it turned out, although it was a longer day than planned, and I did much of the walk-out in the dark.
Warbonnet in 1972; it's the the tall plumed one of your left
as you cross Jackass Pass walking in; the easy route, up the
back-side, abandons the trail in the vicinity of the Sundance
Pinnacle and then walks and boulder-hops its way to the top;
not a just keep walking and hopping toward the
highest thing you can see

The day started off fine but then clouded up and ended up
dark and stormy but with no precipitation nor lightning;
"it was a dark and stormy night, but with no precipitation
nor lightning"

Climbing up Warbonnet's back side

Pingora and the Cirque from above

Panning around

Lonesome  Lake; so for the final summit push, I took off my
pack and ice axe, and trudged on up the last few hundred feet,
crawling the last few because of the wind and exposure; I took
some pix, looked around, and then worked my way back to
where I thought the pack and ice axe would be; not there; not
anywhere I looked for the next two hours; finally, I gave up and
started back down as the daylight dwindled; fortunately there
was a granola bar and some water and a flashlight in my belt
pouch; I was back to the camper and family before midnight,
sadder but wiser; a score of summits and attempts later, I have
never again parted from my equipment; oh, it's a really nice
old-fashioned Stubai "Nanga Partbat" ice axe, Austrian, hickory
shaft, if you find it...

*from the Sherouse Family Digital Archives

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