We had finished our epic (for us) three-day expedition into Pine Valley with the children only the day before. Surely they would be too tired to go adventuring today – a day that seemed quite gloomy as we sat in the warmth making plans. However, despite the fact that the odds were stacked against us, Kirsten and I suggested with enthusiasm that we do a snow climb of Mt King William 1. Almost unbelievably, the kids said they’d like that. Once more packs got filled with clothes and food and of we set, with the proviso that Abby really shouldn’t try to make the summit. Enough is enough: she is only four, and a very tiny four at that.
I gave the others a head start, and by the time I caught them, Gus and Abs were deeply involved in a game where Keith gave them points for spotting interesting things while they walked. Abby was trying to gain points for a leaf, but Keith seemed to draw the line there, until she explained it had a hole in it, so he relented and gave her a single point.
We reached a fallen log which seemed to be raised about 20 cms off the ground. Adults stepped over it; Gussy went around; Abby dived under with ease.
Fun as all this was, we realised we wouldn’t reach the summit if we kept going at this pace, so reluctantly separated, leaving Keith and Abby to continue walking and earning points, while we remaining three tried to give the summit a decent attempt. The first snow was spotted within metres of our surging ahead.
The real snow, however, began where the smaller path goes directly up the steep section to the summit. Gussy, in shorts, found that knee deep snow and scratchy bushes were not the most comfortable things to experience, but toughed it out to a more level and open spot with a rock, where we popped thermals on him to help protect his skin (and keep him warmer. Gloves got added at this stage).
It was good that we did, as the snow got thicker and steeper from then on, with some drop-offs to the side that challenged Gussy’s nerves. On he pressed, however, making great pace for the top.
Soon enough, we spotted the weather equipment that signalled the summit. Doing it in the snow not only added to the beauty of the scenery, but also enhanced the feeling of having had a great adventure.
As the wispy clouds floating around us revealed and concealed aspects of the expansive view 500 ms below us of lakes and other mountains, we lingered on top to enjoy all it had to offer, being eventually turned around by a combination of the cold and the knowledge that we’d better at least get the snow part done before darkness descended.
This was another great effort by Gus (8): 10.8 kms with 505 ms climb, to yield 15.85 km equivalents. It was his fourth Abel.
I enjoy summiting in the snow. I need to redo a few more while it lasts.
For the Pine Valley walk of the days before this one, see