The urge to visit the Cascades is very strong in the late spring. So much so, that deep snow and marginal weather can be negotiated with pain, joy, and continual exhaustion as the payout. In this age of flashy photo and video trip reports, it is easy to overlook the incredible toil and energy to do such feats. The grind of the approach and getting back out is not sexy, and it is hard to describe. Suffice to say these are very strenuous forays.
Tom and I were itching with the idea of heading into the Pickets. We had grand plans of doing something on the North side of the range, but the deep slushy snow would not allow safe passage there. Instead we figure the south face of Inspiration would be a good option . The sunny exposure and milder snow slopes would be more than enough adventure for the melt-off that is going on up there right now. We felt fortunate to be in the Picket range this early.The route is bittersweet in the sense that it is spectacular and super steep, but the climbing is runout, a little loose, and sketchy. Granted we were in mountain boots (wet) , and the cracks were a bit wet too. Threatening weather added to the mix of fear and exhilaration. At times the exposure is stunning.
Despite my complaints, we had a great trip. Such adventure to be found in this range. I have so much respect for the people who put up this route way back then. Kearneys Classics does a great job of telling their story.
We did a direct start to the route, adding another 5.8 pitch on to it.