After years of scampering up south side variations, I finally worked up the nerve to swear off the spring traffic jams and look to the other side of the mountain. Snuck out of work early and my buddy Dylan and I headed for the mountain. We staged a car at Timberline and were off to Tilly Jane.
We made it to the trailhead around 7PM. With the usual pre-climb anticipation, signs of sleep didn't look to be on the menu, so we figured an evening approach would be a fine way to round out the day. We appreciated the sight of a mottled lenticular on the way up and hoped the evening would push it out by morning.
Got to the A-frame around 9PM. Fortunately for us, the cabin was reserved by a solo skier from SEATAC who invited us in. THANKS ALEX! After chatting around the fire for a bit, we turned in to grab a wishful few hours of sleep. Got up at 2:30 and thought, OH SH#@!, it's late and the temp didn't drop. Hovering somewhere in the low 40s, it was time to get a move on if we wanted any shot at getting off the sun struck slope before it started to sluff. An absolute gorgeous night with no wind - provided one of the stillest nights I've experienced. Made it above timberline to see that frickin' lenticular still hanging on.
We agreed you can't take the good without the bad so despite the probability of 'no vis' and a good shot of wind, it would at least shield the sun a bit. Passed the stone shelter and made it to tie-in-tock around sunrise. We hit the cloud in another 500' and sure thing, we were treated to a healthy dose of wind and cold. With a quick wardrobe change, it was onward and upward. The gusts were manageable and it was kind of nice not having the north face exposure as a distraction.
The snow pack was solid and climbing easy despite the warm conditions so we kept the rope and pickets in our packs and decided to solo. We reached the chimeney as the sky opened up. Within minutes the sun was beating down on us. At 10500', the slope was stable but we knew that wouldn't last long.
One last hard quick push and after a few exchanges of kicking in steps, we topped out just after 8AM. The cornice was small (2') and soft, so easy to punch through.
Snapped a few glamor shots and descended through the gates.