Mt. Dade: A New 15'er

13 Jul 1997 - by Debbie Benham

Three separate groups descended on Treasure Lakes Saturday to camp, to gaze, and, eventually, to climb the following day, the Hourglass Couloir to the top of Mt. Dade. Looking at the Hourglass route, we had all afternoon to imagine lengthy falls from the top that involved bloodied crampons and bodies hitting bodies. While most of us acclimatized and lounged, two climbers ice axed their way to Dade Lake for a bit of practice and a leg stretch. While no bears were spotted, we did have a fat marmot look longingly at our dinners. There were very few campsites around the lakes, but all managed to pitch their tents.

Bright and early, at 7am, we headed up. The snow was crisp and crusty with bootsized sun cups. There was a wide range of skill level within the three groups coupled with a variety of equipment. Ice axes were a must while some people donned crampons. We followed a wonderful 'ice stairway' from midway to the top of the snow. The morning was clear, bright, and windless. We followed a use trail to the summit and had marvelous and memorable views of Seven Gables, Gabb, and, of course, Bear Creek Spire. Arun Mahajan dayhiked Dade and joined us on top -- a total of fifteen mountaineers!!

Heading down the snow couloir, a skier was on his way up! One of our group asked to borrow the skis for the downhill. Back in camp and packing up to head out, the mosquitoe was there to remind us to hurry up and move. A grand trip it was! Little Lakes Valley was gorgeous with wildflowers galore. Thanks to all who participated! Group l: Nancy Fitzsimmons (co-leader), Steve King, Jeff West, Noreen and Dan Boram, Ron Freemire, Dennis Hiipakka and, yours truly, Debbie Benham; Group 2: Anouchka Gaillard and Kate Ingvoldstadt; Group 3: Ron Karpel, Nick Pilch, Ted Razcek and David Lou; The Lone Dayhiker: Arun Mahajan.

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