In honor of my Summer Denial I would like to share with you the summit of the Cascades. I chose this because once winter hits here there is no denial that summer is definitely over. This is along route 20 in Chelan County going through Washington Pass. This spiky jagged mountain is Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winter Spires. It is more than 7700 vertical feet of massive granite. Now, that’ll make a few counter tops. We stopped at an overlook that was incredibly beautiful and incredibly dizzying if you looked down. I don’t consider myself afraid of heights but I’m not an idiot, I know where the ground is and exactly how far I am from it. There was a gorgeous wooden fence that ran along the cliff edge of the viewing platforms. It followed insane angles and I had to wonder if there metal rods within that wood because I couldn’t imagine anything less safe looking than this fence.
Liberty Bell and Early Winter Spires are called the sentinels of the pass and as you approach them you notice a sharp transition in the landscape. It becomes drier and the trees spread out more to reveal shrub brush and pine needle floors. Around November they will close this pass for the winter. One year we had come as far as the blockade. The rocks were covered in ice from the freezing waterfalls and the snow was quickly building up all around. It was abundantly clear why the pass had to be closed. This place looked like something out of the last ice age. I could believe that there were saber toothed tigers and woolly mammoths trundling around up there. What I couldn't believe was that someone had once looked at this treacherous mountain pass and thought “Sure, I could put a road through there.”
Mount Liberty Bell and Early Winter Spires are a big draw for climbers. You know, those crazy fools who like to suit up in weird combinations of biker spandex and Sasquatch hunter camouflage with little grippy shoes and boots. There are alien looking metal clips made from alloys of things like titanium, Teflon, diamond, and sea urchin rubber created in a lab on the Space Shuttle. They carry ropes tacked in seemingly random areas on their fat free bodies, which are made of some uber new age silk threaded stainless steel titanium coated non friction/water proof nylon. Somewhere in all the fancy mutant metals and fibers something will be made with hemp. Just keeping it real.
I have tremendous respect for these insanely fit specimens of the race. These glorious fools who revel in the idea of spending a day climbing some giant chunk of jagged earth thrust up into the sky while they try not to die. No, these creatures are not daunted by the staggering heights, sheer cliffs, loose rocks and sudden gusts of wind. They have their Space Shuttle REI gear and trusty Sherpa guide to keep them safe. So what if the Sherpa guide is really a Troll doll with a llama wool hat and no pants? He has a really cool vibe. And so as I drive by in my comfortable car with its wheels firmly on the ground and a cooler of snacks within reach on the backseat, I salute you, fearless mountain climber dudes and your pant less Sherpa guide.