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North Suicide Peak

North Suicide Peak 7/29/04

Tristan had gotten back from Montana a mere handful of hours before I had him talked into trying North Suicide Peak via Rabbit Creek Valley. Although he was assuredly jetlagged, and the suddenness of my invitation had taken him somewhat by surprise, he was enthusiastic. His bike was still in Montana, so he had to make due with my wife's boneshaker. Whatever works.

We started off down the Rabbit Lake Trail sometime in the early afternoon with the stipulation that we had to be turning around and heading back home by 4:00 PM so he could make it to a dinner with his family by 6-7ish. Despite the fact that I'd been biking between 6-12 miles to get to and from work every day, and I have a nicer, lighter, and less cumbersome bike than he did, I had real trouble keeping up with the guy. He was very fast and capable on that awful bike. I was impressed.

Before too long, we made it to Rabbit Lake and took a few minutes to gander at the incredible blues and greens of the water. It soon became neccessary to decide which route up N Suicide we would try. Neither of us had ever been up this way before, and neither of us knew what sort of terrain lay on the other side of Windy Gap, so instead of taking the easier route up into the gap and around the SW side of the peak, we decided to scramble up the steep NW face. The climb was spectacular, with enough scrambling and enough exposure to make the ascent very fun.

A few hundred feet below the summit we began to encounter more forbidding terrain. We clawed our way up a steep moss-covered face and soon found ourselves right beneath the last step up to the summit ridge. Finding the best way to attain the ridge led us to a quick debate. I wanted to try a few easy bouldering moves up a small cliff band directly in front of us, while Tristan suggested we look around to find a more moderate route. We opted to seperate and meet on the summit ridge. He wandered off in the direction of Rabbit Lake, and I headed up to my chosen set of cliffs. How I wish I had followed him instead of trying those cliffs! After a few moves, I found myself in a position where I was forced to put all of my weight on a very loose horn and pull desperately at a pile of loose dirt and debris to finish the problem, all while poised over a pile of sharp rocks some dozen feet below. What a bad choice! When I met with Tristan on the ridge, he informed me that the route he had found was relatively easy, and I kicked myself for not having followed him up it.

We wandered along the ridge for a brief while, and soon found ourselves on the summit of North Suicide Peak, which is little more than a few narrow slivers of rock and some boulders. We took some pictures, ate a snack, and headed down the ridge to Windy Gap, where we discovered the route to be very easy. "Next time," I told myself, although both of us were somewhat happy to have done the peak by a route other than the easiest one, whether it was intentional or not.

We were soon pedaling our way back down the Rabbit Lake Trail towards town, bouncing here and there over the rocky ground. I kept reminding myself how much of an inconvienience it would be to wind up with a flat tire on a trail like this, so I tried my best to keep a safe pace. In what seemed like no time at all, we were back at the car, heading into town, successful in our attempt.