Oh Brothers, where art thou

Last weekend, we backpacked in the Olympics and climbed the brothers. The route itself is straightforward up to Lena lakes (where almost everyone at the trailhead was headed to). Once you cross over to the other side of the lake, it got a bit more interesting. There were lots of blowdowns and the trail meandered through and around a dry creek bed. We all got lots of practice at tree-whacking.

A crew had come through within the past few weeks, and it made a huge difference for the trail. Including lots of flagging tape which kind of took the fun out things, but it made for much faster travel, at least. We were worried for a bit that there wouldn’t be any water after the lake since everything looked _really_ dry. However, the moment we stopped to talk about it, a hiker came by and confirmed there was water galore ahead. We stopped at the climber’s camp for the night and got started the next day around ~5am.

Day 2: The scramble

Maybe a better alternative title is “mountaineering boots: bad”. I’m not sure what the deal is but I’ve struggled to find boots that work for me. The ones I’ve been using for the last ~5 years or so have been a (somewhat reasonable) compromise. They work pretty well for me in the snow (although my feet get cold), but walking on rock is this cascading journey of sadness. First, my feet fascia hurt, then my knees start hurting (I think because I adjust my gait to help out my feet), and then just everything hurts.

I was hoping there would be a decent snow section, but as it turns out it was 99.99% on rock the whole way up. We found one snow gully that happened to be the fastest way up, but also I think we just wanted a reason to put on our snow gear after lugging it all the way up

Anyways, the climb up is a pretty straightforward scramble. There were a few sections that were chock full of scree, but just the “annoying to hike in” kind, not the “send rock showers down on your buddies” kind. There’s a decent amount of routefinding, but in typical fashion if it goes, it’s probably fine. I actually think we managed to stay on the route almost the entire way up. No real exposure or other challenges (besides heat & water management).