I was not disappointed, however. The first morning we were at the huts the weather seemed decent so we went for it. From the base of the mountain, just getting onto it seemed daunting. We had advice on the route from a ranger though, so we went for it up a steep snow patch. That was probably the hardest physical part of the climb. We then traversed along some squishy pumicey rocky terrain, and then up another rise (though not quite as steep) on a glacier. At that point it started to rain fairly hard, it looked pretty socked in above us, and we seriously wondered whether it was worth it to continue. But at that point we were far enough into the climb that if we turned around, there was no way we were ever coming back. We keep trudging uphill as the rain turned to wet snow. Even when we could see the rim of the caldera, I tried not to let myself believe it was actually THE rim until we were there and I could see the lake myself.
|Baked Mountain in the morning sun - all of the light colored stuff is pumice, the entire mountain is covered in pumice!|
|John and Ryan looking toward Katmai from the pass between Baked and Broken Mountains|
|Arriving at the daunting base of Katmai|
|Climbing up toward the caldera rim|
|So excited to have made it!|
It was just as impressive as I had gathered from the airplane, perhaps even more so because the higher peaks were shrouded in clouds. Most of the lake was still covered it ice, but we got a peak at the dark turquoise water. We didn't stay on the rim for long because it was cold, but it was long enough to be in awe.
Our descent went faster than I could have imagined. We sort of skied on our feet down the glacier in the soft melting snow and slid down the pumicey/rockey parts sinking in to above our ankles. It was the trek from the base back to the hut that drug on forever.
|Descending in better weather|
|Sliding/sinking into the pumice on the descent|
|Crossing the Knife River at the base of Katmai|
|John hiking with Mt. Griggs in the background|
|Looking up at a bear running off|
Overall, and incredible day and I am quite happy to say my feet survived my new boots with no blisters and my legs were still working at the end of the day!