It was a Friday afternoon when Zach Cohen and I decided we should climb Lone Eagle’s north face the next day. Zach had been training for an ultra, so we decided he was going to run out in the morning, and I would carry out the gear that night alone and camp. By the time I got to the Monarch Lake trailhead it was already 7 pm.
It’s pitch black now, I am 3-4 miles from Mirror Lake and in a section of thick woods. I let out a whistle – an unfriendly grunt that could only have come from a moose or bear 5 feet to the right of me echoes back. I move forward as fast as I can, feeling the gear in my pack holding back my speed, hoping it doesn’t chase me. I look up from the trail only having run about 25′ and see I am running straight into another huge bull moose, who is standing on the trail watching me charge towards him. I’d been trapped.
Eventually, I make it to Mirror Lake and set up my hammock at 11 pm.
View from my hammock at Mirror Lake before sunrise:
Zach’s view while running in. What a spectacular peak! (Photo: Zach Cohen)
On my approach from camp:
We climbed in the sunshine, snow, rain, hail & with a looming thunderstorm that miraculously avoided us. We simul-climbed the first 7 or so pitches (through the chimney pitch and up to the base of the cleft (3/4th to 5.6)) and then pitched out 3 final pitches (5.? – 5.7 – 5.4?). We didn’t take summit photos because we were trying to get off the mountain as fast as possible.
Myself leading the crux pitch (5.7) (Photo: Zach Cohen):
GoPro screenshots of the start of the crux pitch with Crater Lake visible in the background (5.7):
Myself on the “4th class” descent down “Solo Flight”. (Photos: Zach Cohen)