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3 Photosets

2018-04-14  
Agassiz from Inner Basin, AZ
mini location map2018-04-14
12 by photographer avatarchumley
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Agassiz from Inner Basin, AZ 
Agassiz from Inner Basin, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 14 2018
chumley
Hiking13.75 Miles 3,948 AEG
Hiking13.75 Miles   6 Hrs   56 Mns   2.13 mph
3,948 ft AEG      28 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Do you ever get the feeling that I'm not ready to let go of winter just yet? :sweat:

Last week I was able to determine that there was still snow on the route to Agassiz, so I decided to attempt my first daytime summit.

The weather and conditions aligned perfectly. After warm weather had saturated the snowpack last week, bitterly cold weather over the past couple of days froze it solid again. This allowed for much easier travel than the post-holing last week, where microspikes provided traction and there was no breaking through the re-frozen snowpack.

The wind died down for the day, but the temps stayed in the 40s, which helped keep the snow from softening up. Once getting above the treeline above Doyle Saddle, the snow cleared and I was able to do a couple of the Weatherford switchbacks on dry ground. Eventually I hit the final snow traverse. Nobody had done it yet this season, and I had already decided I wasn't motivated to do Humphreys, so I headed directly for the ridge above me.

The remains of the winter cornice provided a nice strip of snow straight up the ridge to the summit of Agassiz. There were a few thin steps so I think by next week this won't be fully snow covered anymore. At the summit, I enjoyed surprisingly calm winds, and somewhat hazy but still outstanding views.

On the way down, I re-confirmed that it is much, much easier to ascend an icy slope than it is to descend it. Nonetheless, I was happy to have an ice axe and the crunchy refrozen wind-packed snowpack allowed me to get some spike grips and make some switchbacks down to the trail.

Below the saddle, I switched to snowshoes and took a direct route skipping the switchbacks. The lower elevation snow had softened during the day and snowshoes prevented postholing. Surprisingly, the last 3 miles were the coldest on the day. The late afternoon sun just wasn't offsetting the temperature and wind which picked up quite a bit. Flexibility and options were the theme of the day, and I was able to finish the hike in a jacket, beanie, and gloves to stay warm.

I'll have to keep this one in mind for future spring ascents depending on the snowpack.
Named place
Named place
Agassiz Peak Doyle Saddle
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Championing breakfast since 1994.
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