The Index Traverse

At the top of the North Peak we found an aluminum 35MM film canister typical of registers left by the original ascent party of difficult summits. It contained a small sheet of rolled up paper, a pencil stub, Lou Whittaker's Stevens Pass ski patrol id and Jim Whittaker's driver's license. When the Whittaker brothers climbed the North Peak in 1949, there was no pencil in the film can and they left what documents they had to prove they had been there. Among those who signed the register were Fred Beckey and Pete Schoening. We were proud to be able to add our names and stuff the documents and pencil stub back into the can.

The night on the summit was surreal. Low clouds had moved in to form a sea around us, with other summits sticking out like islands. We could hear, but not see, cars on US Highway 2 drive by with their safe and warm occupants while we tried to make ourselves comfortable in our rocky isolation.