Here are some pictures of the trip Mike, Alex and I took to Mt. Constance (July, 1999) in the eastern Olympic Mountains of Washington...  This trip has an aggressive approach, with one of the steepest trails I've hiked.  But the scenery was typically inspiring, and due to the difficulty, only serious backpackers even go up.  These pictures were captured from video, so the quality isn't that great.

Click here to see more coverage of the Constance area when we traversed Crystal Pass in June of 2002...

The Hike Up... - The trail starts at Constance Creek, where the road to Dosewallips intersects the creek.  Lake Constance is only 2 miles away, but 3500 feet above.  There is only a short section of trail that isn't steep, and it pretty much parallels the creek until the lake is achieved.  This picture is of Mike as he heads up following a break.  It took us about 4 hours to make the hike, including breaks.  Click here to see the video...

Mike "climbs" the Constance trail...

Choosing a place to stay... - Once at the lake, the campsites are at the far end.  Since they were under snow, and no one else was there, we decided to set camp on some rocks above the middle of the lake.  The lake was still half frozen, except for the area that drains into the creek...

Mike and Alex at our base camp...

The Approach... - There are many routes, our plan was to scope out route 1 or 1A.  This picture generally shows the route 1 approaches.  But since we started out at around 1:00 am, we were presented with some route-finding challenges.  Since there was so much snow, some of the documented landmarks were covered.  We did find the 1A chute, which was in great shape for crampons, but is very steep...

The approach to routes 1 and 1A for Constance...

Dawn on Constance Arm... - We made the top of the chute just in time for dawn colors, which were pretty spectacular!  A heavy marine layer over Hood Canal created the illusion of an island of summits!  The Cascade volcanoes were clearly visible also...

Morning colors on the Constance arm...

Terrible Traverse... - Perhaps the signature of this climb is the Terrible Traverse.  This section is a very exposed snow field, with only a couple hundred feet of run-out available for self-arrest.  If you fall past the run-out, you won't stop falling until you've banged off around 1500 feet of jagged rock.  This picture was taken from the summit side, as we headed back.  Click here to see video of Mike as he starts across the traverse...

Terrible Traverse...

The Summit... - The summit massif is a fairly easy scramble, but provides one of the airiest experiences available without having to scale a wall.  The true summit is about the size of a table top.  These shots were taken while on top:
Mike on the summit posing as the Heismann...
Another picture of Mike, with the southern Olympics in the background...
Mike exposed!
Summit video...
Mike taped me as I phoned home from the summit...

Tom on the summit - Mt. Constance...

Back to Tom in the mountains...

 

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