Fall trip backlog: The Brothers (6842′)
My office at the University of Washington is on the fifth floor of a grim 1970s-vintage brick and mortar tower. But on clear days, when I stand up from my desk, I can see the skyline of the Olympic Mountains towering above bungalows and strip malls and the interstate. Specifically, I can see the eye-grabbing twin summits of The Brothers (6842′).
In mid-October, newly healed from a bout of achilles tendinitis and fresh off two week-long field trips to Mount Rainier as teaching assistant, I was aching for one last long run in the high country before the snow flew. My frequent partner Richard felt similarly, and suggested we make the trip across the Sound to tag the Brothers’ south summit.
I didn’t take much convincing, and before long, we were parking his van at the trailhead, less than 1000′ above sea level. For some reason, despite first-hand experience with 2014-2015’s depressing winter, we expected snow in the route’s defining couloir, the Hourglass. Alas, though both of us were hauling crampons and ice axes, we were met only with loose scree, eventually scrambling to the summit amidst an intermittent hail of golf-ball sized rocks.
Nonetheless, topping out, it was hard to imagine there was a more worthy lookout in all of Western Washington. Cumulus clouds and blue sky were interleaving in flag-like, patriotic stripes, and the rest of the Olympic Penninsula was putting on a striptease of mist, crag, and forest. We ate jerky and gummy bears, and started running downhill.