Editor’s Note: We’re in the thick of winter. Many fantastic trails are closed or inaccessible and some of our most beloved peaks are out of reach. These photos from Mark Griffith’s late summer climb up Ruth Mountain are gorgeous reminders of just how awesome the North Cascades are after winter has melted away and the trails meander freely through both snow and heather on their way to our favorite summits. Mark’s pictures and musings have all of us at SBM dreaming of summer and adding Ruth Mountain to the 2013 tick list. Enjoy!

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Good Morning Ruth

View of Ruth Mountain coming along the ridge of Point 5930′.

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Awe and Wonder

Laying on the trail at Hannegan Pass. Facing Ruth the heavens lay above me like a black canopy stretched out; dotted with the million pricks of light, almost tangible and within reach at times and at others far off with a vastness that was overwhelming. How seldom do I contemplate the awe of the heavens. How seldom do I have the opportunity to lay beneath its black cloak? The Milky Way stretched wide across the sky, a band of unfathomable depth, silhouetted on one side by mighty trees rooted to the earth, with their branches seeking skyward.

I could feel my mind and heart expanding at times to embrace in wonder the awe of their immensity and at other times the shrinking insignificance of my place relative to their vastness.

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Shy Baker

View of first Shuksan and then Baker behind the lower ridges of Ruth Mountain from the heather saddle below Ruth and Point 5930′

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Ridge Line Around

View back down on Point 5930′ and a crevasse on the upper snow slopes of Ruth Mountain. This was the only real crevasse and easily avoided. The snow was soft and crampons were a bit of an overkill but the ice axe was necessary.

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Nooksack & Shuksan

The Nooksack Glacier hanging above the deep valley on the backside of Mount Shuksan.

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Pointy Peaks

The spires of the Pickets as seen from the summit of Ruth Mountain.

 

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