Two years ago I was with Mark and Don on the first TNAB trip up Guye Peak. We achieved the north and shortest summit, but didn't know the route to the middle or south summits. Light was short and the weather a bit damp so we retired. (TNAB returned the next weekend to get all three summits.)
The days are getting shorter meaning TNAB trips need to be either shorter of faster. I think this was both. We made good time to the north summit through the steep switchbacks and finally into the upper meadows. We avoided the problems we had in June when we tried to follow the same route for Snoqualmie Mountain. The snow has melted out and the old trail has emerged from the avalanche debris that caused us so much trouble last time.
Just below the north summit we prepared the ropes for the scramble. (When I say, "we," I really mean "those with actual experience using ropes.") Just two weeks earlier a climber had fallen and died so we had come even more prepared than usual. Two hand lines were set descending the gully below the north summit and a third rope was set for climbing back up to the middle summit.
Ropes weren't really necessary, but a good precaution. For me, they helped me feel more at ease and allowed me to focus more on my footing. I never did have to rely on the rope.
On the south side of the middle summit we descended another, more solid rock face to a saddle and then back up to the south and true summit. Hurray! Celebration was short, though, since the light was quickly fading and we wanted to be clear of the scramble portion before headlamps were necessary.
So down, up (up is always easier for me), down, and back up and we were below the north summit. I ran up to the top for a couple of last pictures over the ridgeline to the west and then with a couple of headlamp clicks we were back on the trail heading down. Soon we were in total darkness and trudging along just like on any other TNAB, though none of those require ropes.
Back at the cars I was shocked to see it was only 9pm. Even with all the slow scrambling it had only taken three hours up and back. It's a perfect late season TNAB trip. Since it was so early we headed to the Pour House and even then I was home by 10:30.
Amy was long since asleep in preparation for the first day of the 3day that started the next day so after a quick shower I was in bed as quietly as I could be... except Lilly was already there. Hmm... after evicting Lilly from my spot I fell asleep and didn't notice when Amy left at 4:30am.
Totals were about four miles and 2,000 feet of gain. And as a bonus, I think next time on the ropes will be pretty easy.