The night prior to our summit day had remained cloudy and we had heavy rain for about an hour after midnight. We left the base camp at 3:00 AM, headed around the lake and up Dinwoody Pass. As we climbed the pass and daylight was approaching, we could see a cloud ceiling above at about 12,500' (the top of the pass is about 13,000'). The previous night's brief storm had dropped about 2" of new snow.
When we got to the top of Dinwoody Pass, we were in thick clouds. So much for our first view of Gannett Peak!!
We headed down toward Dinwoody Glacier and took a picture about halfway down the north side of the pass. The photo below shows Dinwoody Glacier below, the "moat" around the lower end of Gooseneck Ridge (lower left), and the lower part of Gooseneck Glacier in the background (middle left).
We crossed the horizontal "snow finger" in the left center of the photo above -- that seemed to be the best route from Dinwoody Glacier over to Gooseneck Glacier.
The bergschrund was really obvious and most of it would have been difficult to negotiate, but it seemed to have a substantial snow bridge right in the middle of the smaller south section. We stayed away from a serious-looking hole on our left (in the photo above) and had no problems. We were pleased to have been there in late June, before the snow bridge became weaker later in the summer.
Here we're just above the bergschrund area and heading from above Gooseneck Pinnacle over toward the south end of the summit snow cap. The summit rocks area is visible at the top center of the photo.
Because of the cloud cover the night before and most of the day, the snow remained soft all night. Fortunately, it was pretty well consolidated - - - we only made small avalanches (the result of the new snow from last night).
We only had to self-arrest a few times. . . The good news is that we were able to ride several avalanches on the way back down!!
What a trip!
Here we are, above, a little further above Gooseneck Pinnacle (in the background) headed up onto the summit snow cap.
At 3:00 PM, Danny arrived at the summit so he could get a picture of Jim and Joel approaching. They were pretending they had adult supervision and were staying away from that BIG step off to the west!! We were all in a hurry because a really dark storm was approaching from the west.
Joel and Dan at 13,804'. The view was awesome -- and so are WE !
Because of the ominous black storm approaching quickly, and the thunder booms echoing around the mountains, we didn't have time to set up the tripod for the usual group summit photo.
Below are Joel and Jim at the top of Wyoming! Awesome -- and well worth the hike!
After a fast 10 minutes on the summit, and with a really mean looking and sounding storm almost upon us, we headed quickly down toward Gooseneck Pinnacle and Ridge. When the storm hit, we huddled down by some rocks by the south end of the summit snow cap. The rocks, however, were not much protection from the snow squall.
After a brief storm, and one really CLOSE lightning experience, perfect weather returned for our descent.
Due to the late hour and really soft snow, we started numerous small avalanches on the descent toward the bergschrund. After Joel became the first Avalanche Rider ("Hey, I can't self-arrest when the whole slope's sliding!")we all learned a speedy and exciting way down! And down the south side of Dinwoody Pass, too! (The snow and ice under the shallow layer of fresh snow was well consolidated, so we really didn't have to worry, Mom.)
After a long, exciting and rewarding summit day, and after negotiating Dinwoody Pass again (the ride down on the snow was great!) we arrived back at our home-away-from-home at 9:00 PM. Tired and happy campers!
No problem sleeping that night!