On Mount Raymond, I certainly didn't reach my limit--after all, I pushed through and made it to the top--but I could sense my limit as I clung to various fins of rock along the sometimes knife-edge summit ridge. My tolerance for adventure is greater than some, but not as high as I'd like it to be sometimes. Given my decidedly risk averse family lineage, however, it's somewhat amazing I get outside to test my limits at all.
I wasn't sure if it was the fear of falling or the fear of my own fear that burdened my consciousness on that summit ridge. Regardless, I've noticed that the fear is seldom unfounded--a fall off that ridge wouldn't have been fun.
But what made that summit ridge difficult? The few required scrambling moves were elementary. In fact, that ridge is only rated as class 1, which isn't difficult or particularly dangerous. (In comparison, Mount Olympus' final 600 vertical feet is a steep class 3 scramble--without exposure--that wasn't difficult for me.) Aside from Mount Raymond's final summit cone, the ridge also wasn't particularly steep. Instead, the challenge for me was entirely mental, and probably only because there was some mild exposure.
Nonetheless, I overcame the mental challenges and summited. The view from the top was pretty good, mainly because it overlooks most of both Millcreek and Big Cottonwood Canyons. I still prefer the view from Olympus and Timpanogos to the view from Mount Raymond, however.
I had planned to also climb Gobbler's Knob to the east of Baker Pass (Raymond is west of the pass), but the weather was threatening, so I decided to head back home. Not ten minutes after that decision, a steady, drizzling rain started, and not before long it had sufficiently drenched me and my clothing. To make matters worse (as far as dryness was concerned), much of the trail was lined with overflowing brush that further coated me with wetness like thousands of wet paintbrushes as I hussled past them on my way back to the car.
I actually haven't often hiked in rain. The Tetons backpacking trip this year is the only other time I can remember encountering rain of any significance on a hike. This storm put my hiking clothes to test.
On this hike, I wore my new Merrell hiking boots. They're more like high-top sneakers with hiking boot tread than real hiking boots. They became so completely waterlogged that they made squishing noises starting from the Desolation Trail junction with the Butler Fork Trail after, at most, 45 minutes of rain. Pathetic, but not unexpected.
My pants (again) got drenched. They performed similarily in the Tetons.
My $45 pack cover (i.e., a piece of plastic) performed superbly. My pack stayed bone dry underneath its expensiveness.
My SmartWool socks and polypropylene liner socks kept my feet warm despite the fact that, in total, I was able to wring a half cup or so of water out of them after the hike. What they say about wool and polypropylene (that they keep you warm even when wet) is true, I guess.
My cheap Sierra Designs windbreaker, which I fool myself into believing will also keep me dry because it feels like a piece of plastic, quickly became saturated and very cold. The 100-weight fleece jacket I put on underneath it warmed me back up and kept me warm, however.
Despite the poor weather and the fact that the destination wasn't as awesome as some other hikes I've done in the Wasatch, it was a worthwhile hike that gave me a much different perspective of Millcreek and Big Cottonwood Canyons. I don't anticipate making another attempt on Mount Raymond in the summer, however. I don't think the destination is worth the trouble of that summit ridge. I might make it back up to Baker Pass to climb Gobbler's Knob, however, or, perhaps, back up part of Mount Raymond's summit ridge in the winter to ski some of its seemingly perfect chutes. We'll see.
*Note: I forgot to bring my camera, so I won't be publishing any photos from this hike, unfortunately.
Without further ado, here's some hike stats:
* Circle-All Peak - 8,707 feet
* Mount Raymond - 10,241 feet
* 09:45 AM - Start (Butler Fork Trlhd)
* 10:45 AM - Circle-All Peak
* 11:00 AM - Depart Circle-All Peak
* 11:11 AM - Desolation Trl Jct
* 11:45 AM - Bowman Fork Trl Jct
* 11:50 AM - Arrive at Baker Pass
* 11:55 AM - Depart Baker Pass
* 12:54 PM - Arrive Mt Raymond
* 01:54 PM - Arrive Baker Pass
* 01:59 PM - Desolation Trl Jct
* 02:26 PM - Butler Fork Trl Jct
* 03:15 PM - Finish