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
Click here to see more
coverage of the Constance area when we traversed Crystal Pass in June of
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...
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...
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...
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...
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
here to see video of Mike as he starts across the traverse...
- 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:
Back to Tom in the mountains...