Was on the Tooth summit Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, could see about 7 fires. Was clear on Sunday then by Monday morning the wind had changed and visibility went to about 500 ft.
One fire was just West of Stuart and the peak was going in and out of the smoke. Two fires to the NNE, then Stuart, Vantage, Wenatchee, Crystal
Then at night you could see the orange glow from the fires.
The Tooth was encouraging in that there was a Gazillion tourons going to Snow Lake but when the trail cut off towards the Tooth it went to just a handful of people. Over a day and a half on the Tooth only saw 9 other climbers which is about the same as it's been for over a decade. So the real climbing back country is not getting inundated at least from this small sample perspective.
The Tooth was plan C and it was as good as ever. Plan A was the South route on Garfield main, aborted because forgot key gear and had to go back to the house and return which put the South route out of the time window. Plan B was Garfield East and that got aborted by some black bears. This is like the 3rd time I've been shut down by bears, maybe need to start carrying flares again.
Going up a gully and then an intersecting gully and saw a black bear crossing and going into the woods. So sat still observing and the bear came back out of the woods across the gully and into the woods on the other side. So waited again debating whether to wait and cross paths if it stayed in the woods. Then a cub comes out of the woods into the gully.... oh sh*t. I'm outa here. They were only about 100 yards away but luckily the gully I was in had running water that was masking my noise and I was downwind, I don't think they ever knew I was there.
So driving back and forth from the trailhead twice and then 1000 vert ft of gully never even getting out of the trees, batting zero so far, and it's already noon on Sunday so the holiday weekend is already 1/4 done. (had to work Sat)
So on to the Tooth which I haven't done in about 5 years. With overnight gear and no rock shoes, only sticky hikers. The cruxes kind of got my attention more than I remember but it was easier downclimbing the next day. And at the summit bivy late that night I'm wondering, can bears climb the Tooth?
And wonder of wonders no night snaffles on the summit. But then two stoned Portlanders came up about 4:00 am and the leader made a sound just like a mountain goat and I'm thinking when did goats start climbing the Tooth? Oh wait it's got a headlamp.
Had to work extra hard at it but this year I did not get skunked on Labor Day. Yeeee Haaaa!!! And to think we work all year and we're only worth one day? How come it's not labor week? And if the BeeZose types could have their way it would only be labor hour and then back to the toothpicks out of logs factory.
And I had the Android and got into a really good distopian postcyberpunk scifi ebook as the moon crossed over.
A few fires and some big hurricanes and floods? The earth is like a giant Honey Badger, it just don't give a fu*k. If you look at geological history it started as a ball of molten rock and also had a 20 million year period where it was a ball of solid ice with glaciers 1500 ft thick at the equator. The ice was so heavy it crushed down the land so when it melted the land had to spring back up. And to think life started before this cooling period and survived in the deep oceans during that time. And if the earth gets pissed it's going to eat man up like a poisonous snake and if we bite it it'll just pass out for a while and then wake back up.