Mazama Dome 5800 & Table Mtn (to 5600)
(USGS Shuksan Arm)
Matt Burton & Ian MacKay.
I ended up strolling across the flat west arm of Table Mountain in a light grey void – no sky, no ground, no horizon, no wind, no sound – like I was suspended in space completely separated from the world except for the crunch and feel of my snowshoes when I walked.
The plan was to go back to Barometer Mtn and see how it looked in good weather. By the time we reached Herman Saddle, it was obvious that the area was in total cloud cover, so we turned aside and went to Mazama Dome.
Back at Herman Saddle, I proposed going up Table Mountain, using the gully that’s just west of the saddle. Ian had broken one of his snowshoes, so he decided to head back to the cars.
I walked to the south end of the saddle, traversed southwest below the cliffs, and started up the gully. It was steep, but the snow was in good condition, so I could kick steps up to the top.
The clouds were even thicker on top of the mountain. The fog and snow blended together into a seamless gray surrounding, with just a few rocks and trees showing the edge where I had come up. Since the rest of the north arm of the mountain is essentially flat and treeless, I navigated by walking down the center of the arm, occasionally veering right or left when a faint demarcation would show the right or left edge of the arm. With no wind, moderate temperatures, and little slope angle, it was almost like walking suspended in empty space. My only sensation of contact with the world came from the sound and feel of my snowshoes when I moved. It was a curiously relaxing and peaceful feeling.
After about twenty minutes, a few small black rocks appeared in the void, and I turned around there, since I knew Ian would be waiting. I used the rocks to take a picture of myself, and then followed my tracks back to the gully and out to the cars.
Round trip 5 miles. Cumulative gain 2200 feet.
Barometer Mtn & Mazama Dome, 2/23/02 - my previous trip to Mazama Dome
Table Mtn, 1/18/03 - my next trip to Table Mtn
Pictures & Map: