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Point 5700
posted by John : July 24, 2014

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Slippery slabs

Point 5700 is barely a destination. If you get there you either missed the toilet at Melakwa Lake (and didn't have to go that badly since it's quite a ways past the toilet) or you're on your way to Kaleetan Peak. Or you're there with TNAB.

I started early because (a) I'm getting too old to keep up with the whippersnappers that populate TNAB hikes nowadays (except they're not any older than me) and (b) I was testing new footwear and wanted to ease into it. The last time I went full-bore into new, alternative shoes I could hardly walk for a week. This time I was going to take it a little easier. (And by easier I meant just not go as fast as usual.)

When the forecast was good we had tossed around the idea of climbing Kaleetan and then meeting the rest of TNAB on Point 5700. However, by Thursday it was lousy, just like the last time I climbed it and I had no intention of seeing a wall of gray again.

The trail flew by beneath my new shoes and I was at Melakwa Lake. I don't think I've ever been there in good weather. It's supposedly quite pretty. Treen and I pushed on up past the toilet and along the sometimes sketchy route.

The way is sometimes well-defined, but more often a little less so. When it finally exits the trees you can choose to climb the talus field or duck back into the trees. The latter seemed a better plan, but it was steep, steep duff and just a scratch of a trail. Higher, the route led along a cliffy edge with a few spots of snow barely holding on. Treen, of course, dared fate to get a quick roll in each patch.

At the top is a cairn that I'm still sure is home to a spider not unlike Shelob from Return of the King, though that's based entirely on my 2008 visit. If she was there this night she was smart enough to hide deep in the cairn and out of the weather. We were not so smart.

The only thing that kept us toasty was a four course tasting of coffee-based alcohol and a tiny bottle of tequila because it was National Tequila Day. We didn't linger at all and once everyone arrived we headed back down the "mountain."

The best things I can say about the hike are that it was good exercise, the company was good, and the new shoes and socks worked great. (Don't worry, a more complete review will come soon.) Even with only these pluses, it beats a lot of the other things I would have been doing instead. No bills, no dishes, and no laundry. I'd go back to escape that trio again.

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