Ruth Mountain
July 21st , 2007

Photos and story by Josh
Who: Christy
and Josh

Our morning begins with the alarm clock blaring. Both Christy and I hardly move other than an annoyed slap of the sleeper button. At least the alarm rang on time.  Opal, the household cat has a tendency to change the settings.  And yes she can!  She has a good sense of humor.
To get up early on a rainy Saturday morning in late July to go skiing takes quite a bit of motivation.  Christy and Reba would not let me sleep.  Soon I found myself taking the first excursion in the Ford Excursion.  It is quite the ride.  The drive up to Ruth is long. Shortly before the trailhead I notice Reba is walking back and forth looking a bit agitated.  After seeing similar behavior on a recent rafting trip I should have known to stop; She threw‑up. After cleaning Christy and I were feeling a little sick ourselves.
At the trailhead we got ready and soon found ourselves hiking up a wet trail.  It was now raining pretty hard.  Christy having brought an umbrella thought it would be nice to rig it up to her backpack so she would not have to hold it.  This was an entertaining mile or so of various contraptions to hold up this umbrella.  None of them worked and soon to our delight the rain dissipated.

The hike up to Hannagan Pass went quickly.  We were both pretty excited having just caught our first view of Ruth Mountain .  It looked like some good skiing.  Just above the pass we both took a much needed break.  After a fruit cup and a burrito we were both on full and ready to go.  Before us was a steep muddy climb.  It was easy to go up, but getting down would take some nimble walking.


The next section I was a little worried about.  I feared Reba would be unable to cross a steep traverse safely.  Boy was I wrong.  She was across the slope in no time and waiting on us on the other side with a doggy smile.  Christy did the classic tennis shoe traverse with an ax.  Once on the ridge we put on our ski boots leaving our shoes under a tree.

We quickly made for the summit thinking we would make a few laps.  Near the top we both lost a bit of steam. There would be no laps today. The wind was strong and cold.  The only place we could find to rest on the summit was a steep shale slope.  It got us out of the wind, but left us both a bit raw and irritated. I must mention that the views from the top of Ruth Mountain are some of the best in the North Cascades.  Mt. Shuksan is in your face with many large glaciers hanging on steep slopes.  Icy Peak , Challenger, and even Mt. Blum all keep a watchful eye on us.
Soon the cold and wind drove us from the summit. Relief came quickly as Christy likes to link her turns and is soon well down the slope.  I did get a couple of good photos as Reba and I chase her down the mountain.  There was a soft bumpy corn snow that was perfect at the top and a bit ruff at the bottom.


The hike down, or should I say the mud slide down was wet. The worse part came just after we left the snow and down climbed to Hannagan Pass on a steep boot path.  What was earlier a dry trail was now a steep creek bed. I think Christy enjoyed this part the most:) We both had a few good tumbles. The rain increased in intensity all of the way to the car.  It was a long wet walk out, but in good company. Thank you for the great trip Christy and Reba! It was good to wring out another trip, literally.

More reading: Nooksack Traverse

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