Jeff and I wanted some physical exertion, some fun glacier slogging, and some skiing. The idea was to ski two routes on Glacier Peak in two days.
We started the hike a little after 8:30 Saturday morning. I did my usual 'lounge in the car for half an hour while Jeff starts hiking' routine. I caught Jeff before Kennedy Hot Springs, not giving him the chance to cruise past Kennedy Ridge Trail on autopilot. That's what I did my first time approaching Frostbite Ridge, so this isn't just disrespect for Jeff. It's disrespect for both of us retards.
There was some debate about how high we should camp, but in the end I convinced Jeff that lower was better. As we got closer to Kennedy Peak and continuously-skiable snow, my itch to camp got very strong. We settled on a gorgeous, flat bivy spot around 7,000', just west of the glacier on Kennedy Peak. After lightening our loads we were continuing our climb in no time.
Frostbite Ridge had great steps all the way; where steps were lacking, the snow was plenty soft to kick a step. Up and over the Rabbit Ears, there were easy steps up another false summit. After descending into the crater, Jeff was determined to finish the last leg of the climb without crampons. At some point, it seemed a little too icy for comfort to me. I considered using my crampons and said to Jeff, "Jeff, I think I might use the 'poons. It's a little icy here."
Jeff replied furiously (Queue The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack.), "Hell no, we ain't using no 'poons. I'm climbing this like a real badass. We're going right to the top, I want those ten points toward my hardman badge. Now shut your hole and climb, boy!" I may have paraphrased him some, but only slightly.
My lame retort was along these lines, "OK, tough guy, but you don't get any hardman points for getting your face bloody taking an icy slide into the crater."
We made it to the top without any more problems and Jeff's voracious ego was temporarily satiated.
By now it was icy and close to sunset, so we downclimbed carefully in our crampons (Jeff screamed the whole way down, "This is f*&^%ng weak! We should be glissading this.") to the bottom of Frostbite ridge. We had a surprisingly pleasant 2,000 vertical feet of skiing to camp, then a night of sweet dreams before another alpine adventure.
After a very comfortable alpine bivy, we awoke lazily and late. The Kennedy Glacier looked feasible the day before, so the plan was to climb it. (And maybe ski it?) We didn't start climbing until nine, with the sun high in the sky.
Jeff left his skis on the Vista Glacier before we crossed a snow bridge onto the Kennedy. Climbing the glacier was fairly straighforward, with some weaving up high, and an icy step above a bergschrund that I decided I'd rather not ski alone. The other possible ski route seemed like it might have some hard ice, so I decided to forget the solo descent of the glacier and descend Frostbite Ridge with Jeff.
I stopped to take a break below the Rabbit Ears. Jeff continued. It was so nice and warm at 10,000 feet and the sun was brilliant. I had a great time sitting naked in the sunshine and soaking the surroundings into my skin, superb. On the flip side of the Rabbit Ears, I was pleased to find a paragon of steep corn near the top of Frostbite Ridge. Jeff took a video with his little digital camera.
We returned to the car before dark. I finished reading one of the Harry Potter books as we drove to the Mountain Loop Highway, ending thirty six hours of bliss by trading a real fantasy world for an imaginary one.