Shoulder season can easily be loved or hated by all us outdoor adventure folk. Some days its a sigh of relief, “Oh yes it’s raining! That means I can relax on the couch and not feel guilty!” Other days the rain and snow bring about another long heaving sigh of, “What on earth am I supposed to do in these conditions?!!?”
Well- Usually in shoulder season I head back to the fun and easy classic scrambles while I anxiously await the winter or summer. However- the shoulder season can add and interesting spice to any “easy” route up a mountain.
Take Grassi Peak for example, a relatively easy summit with a few exposed moves on a regular sunny day. But, if you add a skiff of snow and 10 scared tourists in front – wham-suddenly you have a slippery icy slope next to a precipitous “die to your death fall” cliff ………and then things aren’t exactly a fun walk in the park anymore. During our descent there was indeed one particular spot that had too much foot traffic over the snow, compacting it to make a very sketchy section. I ended up navigating that portion on my butt:) Pride was set aside as I peered at my fall consequence of most certain death. But, with hazard mitigation I made it to the top and back to the parking lot safe and sound 🙂