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A Wrong-seasoned Merchant Peak
Timestamp Free: 2020.04.05 - 17:05:36
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Cascade Range / Washington Cascades
  (1 days)
Participants: Michael Stanton 3rd class
I scramble up Merchant Peak on a hot June day.
At home one Saturday morning I was able to get out at the last minute. I'd always wanted to climb Merchant Peak, so I got my gear together. I somehow thought there would be a lot of snow, so I ended up taking heavy boots and crampons. What a mistake I would often rue on hot dusty slopes!

Two hours later, I'm clomping up a boulderfield in the woods, wondering how such a mature forest could be covered in 4 feet of rocks. There must have been a really dark and stormy night long ago. Sweat is dripping off of me like I'm doing sit ups in a clothes dryer. Note to self - 1 pm starts on south facing low elevation hillsides are inferior. My food was a package of salami, turning from a healthy red to gray in a matter of minutes. Icch.

I passed a waterfall on the left, then another one on the right. This one gave me pause, because I had to do some tricky slab climbing that I thought would be hard coming down. Again I cursed my boots. Blocks of snow dripped in the gully, creating platforms suspended high above the stream and deep caves, daring you to walk on them.

Above the waterfall, the gully became steeper, eventually pushing me upslope on the left to crumbling dirt. A metric ton of material was displaced into the water thanks to my steps and the smell of cordite filled the air. My beta printout said to look for a cave on the right, and find a trail into the cave. Once in the cave, the route gained a degree of remoteness. Some bushy dirt slopes led up to the right. Mt. Baring kept a watch on me, and the blue sky clouded up. I emerged from a fight with an alder tree on high rock above a waterfall. Time for some gray-green salami! Icch.

Now I was confused, I should have brought a map, because there was a summit on the right and one on the left. The left looked...

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