Clara chastises me when I speak ill with the cliched, but effective, "If you don't have something nice to say don't say anything at all." As such, this will be brief.
Mailbox is not one of my favorite peaks. In fact, it may be one of my least favorite. The first 3,000 feet is either on a road or climbing steeply up a rooted, rutted, sloppy trail that is completely encased in a forest with a canopy so thick the ground is virtually dead.
Unfortunately, the top 1,000 feet is really quite nice with killer views and open slopes.
Too bad you can't chop it in two.
Anyway, Scott and I got going a little early at 5:15 (as opposed to 6pm) and after a few water breaks and time to put on traction (he and most everyone else had Microspikes, but I resorted to full crampons, though they were overkill) I found myself on the cold and occasionally windy summit at about 7:45. Not a great time, but not bad for me. Unfortunately, Scott was there about 20 minutes before I was and now I need to work hard to catch up to him since we're going to be tied to the same rope on Rainier.
We tried to be cheery on top, but the thought of the nasty climb down weighed heavily. After the group picture (and welcoming late-arriver Eric to the summit) we all turned down to get out of the snow and the wind.
I can't wait for Mailbox to show up on the schedule during the regular TNAB season. <sigh>
Total distance was 5.5 miles and gain was 4,114 feet.