The Columbia River: Its History, Its Myths, Its Scenery, Its Commerce/Part 2/Chapter 5
A Side Trip to Some of the Great Snow-Peaks
Attractions of our Mountain Peaks—Relations to the Rivers—Locations of the Greatest and their Positions with Regard to the Cities and the Routes of Travel—The Mountain Clubs—The Peaks, Especially Belonging to the River: Hood, Adams, and St. Helens—A Journey to Hood—Beauty of the Approach through Hood River Valley—Lost Lake—Cloud-Cap Inn and Elliot Glacier—Extreme Steepness of the Ascent—Magnificence of the View—Mt. Adams—The Hunting and Fishing—The Glaciers—The Vegetation about the Snow-Line—The Night Storm—Morning and the Ascent—Views Around, Up, Down—Ascent by the Mazama Club in 1902 and the Transformation Scene—General Similarity of Ascent of our Peaks—Zones of a Snow-Peak.
"Nesika Klatawa Sahale"
MOST countries have rivers of beauty and grandeur; many have lakes of scenic charm; many have hills and mountain chains; but there is only one country in the United States that has all of these features, and, in addition, a number of isolated giant peaks, clad in permanent ice and snow. That country is the Pacific North-west. Throughout Oregon and Washington and extending partly through California is a series of volcanic peaks which gather within themselves every feature of natural beauty, sublimity, and wonder.The fifteen most conspicuous of these peaks, beginning with Baker or Kulshan on the north, and
The greatest influence in organising visits to these mountains, and in cultivating an appreciation of them among the people of the region, as well as in informing the world regarding them, has existed in the mountain clubs. The chief of these are the Mazama (Wild Goat) Club of Portland and the Mountaineers of Seattle. Membership is not confined to those two cities, though mainly located there. The Mazama Club may be called the historic mountain climber's club, and it has done incalculable good in fostering a love of mountains and in arranging expeditions to them.
The three peaks which may be considered as especially belonging to the Columbia River are Hood, Adams, and St. Helens. As the traveller on the River views the unsullied spires and domes of these great temples of nature, he longs to worship in their more immediate presence. As a logical consequence of this sentiment, after having floated down the Columbia from The Dalles to Rooster Rock, we feel that life would be at least partly in vain if we should fail to plant feet on the topmost snows of at least two of these great heights.
We will first visit Hood. Though not the highest, this is the boldest and most picturesque of all. Moreover by reason of its location, seen conspicuously as it is from Portland and the Willamette Valley, and because of its nearness to the old immigrant road into Oregon, Hood was the first noticed, and the most often described, painted, and berhymed of any of the wintry brotherhood. As the Puget Sound region became settled, and great cities began to grow up there, Mt. Rainier (“Takhoma”) began to be a rival in popular estimation. When measurements showed that Rainier was three thousand feet higher, and Adams over one thousand feet higher than the idolised Hood, a wail of grief arose from the Oregonians, and for a time they could hardly be reconciled. But as they became adjusted to the situation, they planted themselves upon the proposition that, though Hood was not the highest, it was the most beautiful, and that its surroundings were superior to those of any other. For this proposition there is much to be said, though, in truth, we must accept the dictum of Dogberry that “comparisons are odorous”The usual approach to Mt. Hood by the Hood River route is indeed of striking attractiveness. This picturesque orchard valley is like an avenue of flowers leading to a marble temple. One of the finest points
in the vicinity of Hood River, seldom visited because it is off the road and buried in forests, is Lost Lake. Perhaps the grandest view of Mt. Hood is from this lake. The bold pinnacle, rising out of the broad fields of snow, they in turn most wondrously encircled in forests of rich hue, is mirrored in the clear water with a perfectness that scarcely can be matched among the many lakes of its kind in all the land. In these days of swift transit, Hood River keeps up with the procession, for there is a regular automobile line from the town to Cloud-Cap Inn at the snow-line of the great peak, twenty-four miles distant. The distance, though it represents a rise of seven thousand feet, is traversed all too quickly to fully enjoy the valley, filled with its orchards, and rising in regular gradation from the heat of the lower end to the bracing cold of the upper air. In Cloud-Cap Inn the traveller may find the daintiest, most unique specimen of a mountain resort in our mountains. The Inn is owned by a wealthy Portland man, and is maintained rather as an attraction to visitors than with the expectation of making money.
From the Inn one can climb in a few minutes to Photographer's Point, from which he can look right down on the Elliot Glacier, not a large, but an exceedingly fine specimen of that most interesting of all features of a great peak.
Hood, though so steep, can be ascended from several points. It was for a long time supposed to be unscalable from the north side. But William Langille, one of the most daring and successful mountain climbers of Oregon, soon found his way up the sharp ascent, and, once marked out, that route has been followed by the great majority of climbers. Though very steep, there has never been an accident on this route except in one case, when a stranger undertook the climb alone and never returned. He probably lost his footing and fell into a crevasse. With the usual precautions of ropes and ice hatchets and caulks, a party can make their way over the steep slope, and its very steepness makes the ascent quicker and less exhaustive than to overcome the longer and more gradual ascents of Adams or "Takhoma." While it takes but about four or five hours for an average party to go from snow-line to summit of Hood, either of the other mountains named demands from seven to ten hours.
And having reached the summit, what a view! If the day be entirely clear—a rare occurrence—you will behold a domain for an empire. On the south, the long line of the Cascades, with the occasional great heights, Jefferson, Three Sisters, Thielson, Diamond, Scott, and, if it be very clear, even Pitt. To the north, the giant bulk of Adams, the airy symmetry of St. Helens, and the lordly majesty of Rainier, rule sky and earth, while in mazy undulations the great range, alternately purple and white, stretches on and on until it blends into the clouds.
Seemingly almost at the feet of the observer, a dark green sinuosity amid the timbered hills, now strangely flattened, as we stand so high above them, marks the course of the River on its march oceanward. If the day be very clear, a whitish blur far westward shows where the "Rose City" on the Willamette reigns over her fair domains, while a dim stretch of varied hues denotes the Willamette Valley. Some climbers have even asserted that late in the afternoon of extremely clear days the glint of the western sun can be seen upon the Pacific, a hundred and fifty miles distant. Toward the east lie the vast plains of the Inland Empire, marked at their farther limit by the soft curves and lazy swells of the range of the Blue Mountains.
While it is an ungracious and even a fruitless undertaking to compare such objects as the great mountains or the views from the respective summits, it may be said that Hood has one conspicuous feature of the view, and that is that it is nearest the centre of the great mountain peaks, as well as systems, and also best commands the outlook over the great valley systems and river systems of this part of the Columbia Basin. And therefore, though the view is not equal in breadth to that from the summit of Adams or Rainier, it is unsurpassed for variety and interest. It may be said to cover more history than the view from any other peak. Across the southern flank lies the old Barlow Road, over which came the greater part of the immigration in the days of the ox-team conquest of Oregon in the forties and fifties. Thirty miles east is The Dalles with its old fur-trader's station, its old United States fort, its mission station, its Indian wars, its early settlement, the most historic place in Eastern Oregon. From the old town, during all the years from the opening of the century, there descended the River the trappers, missionaries, immigrants, miners, soldiers, hunters, home-seekers, of a later day, adventurers and promoters of every species, to say nothing of the generations of Indians who lived and died along the banks.
To the west of our icy eyrie, Portland and Vancouver, with the rich valleys around them, represent the earliest explorations and developments of the fur-traders, as well as the earliest days of the era of permanent settlement. There in the westward haze is the little town of Champoeg where the Provisional Government of Oregon was established. In fact, in whatsoever direction we may look, we see illustrations of the heroic age of Old Oregon, the drama of native races, rival powers of Europe and America, the march of empire, a section of humanity and the world in the making.
When our visit to Hood is ended we must cross the River and traverse another paradise, the White Salmon Valley, leading to Mt. Adams, the old Indian Klickitat. Adams is in such a position that its true elevation and magnitude cannot be understood from Portland or The Dalles or most of the routes of travel. Therefore until comparatively recent times it was generally supposed that Adams was an insignificant mountain in comparison with Hood, which looms up with such imposing grandeur from every point along the chief highways of commerce. It was discovered by the Mazama Club in 1896 that Adams carried his regal crown at a height of twelve thousand four hundred and seventy feet above the level of the sea, while the previously established height of Hood was only eleven thousand two hundred and twenty-five. Since then Adams has been held in much greater respect by mountain lovers, and many journeys have been made to and on it.
Around Mt. Adams is a region of caves. As one rides through the open glades he may often hear the ground rumble beneath his horse's hoofs. Mouths of Avernus yawn on every side. Some caverns have sunken in, leaving serpentine ravines. One cave has been traced three miles without finding the end. Some of these caves are partially filled with ice. There is one in particular, fifteen miles south-west of the mountain, which is known as Ice Cave. This is very small, not over four hundred feet long, but it is a marvel of unique beauty. Its external appearance is that of a huge well, at whose edge are bunches of nodding flowers, and from whose dark depths issue sudden chilly gusts. Descending by means of a knotty young tree which previous visitors have let down, we find ourselves on a floor of ice. The glare of pitch-pine torches reveals a weird and beautiful scene. A perfect forest of icicles of both the stalactite and stalagmite forms fills the cave. They are from ten to fifteen feet in length and from one to three in diameter. From some points of view they look like silvered organ-pipes.
These caves have been formed in some cases by chambers of steam or bubbles in the yet pasty rock which hardened enough to maintain their form upon the condensation of the vapour. Others were doubtless produced by a tongue of lava as it collected slag and hardened rock upon its moving edge, rising up and curling over like a breaker on the sand. Only the “cave of flint” instead of turning into a “retreating cloud” had enough solid matter to sustain the arch and so became permanent. Others were no doubt formed by products. A tongue of flowing lava hardens on the surface. The interior remains fluid. It may continue running until the tongue is all emptied, leaving a cavern. Such a cavern, whose upper end reaches the cold air of the mountains, might be like a chimney, down which freezing air would descend, turning into ice the water that trickled into the cave, even at the lower end.For sport, the region about Mt. Adams is unsurpassed. The elk, three kinds of deer, the magnificent mule deer, the black-tail, and the graceful little white-tail, two species of bear, the cinnamon and black, the daring and ubiquitous mountain goat, quail, grouse, pheasants, ducks, and cranes, are among the attractions to the hunter. Of late years great bands of sheep have driven the game somewhat from the south and east sides. In the grassy glades that encircle the snowy pile of Adams no vexatious undergrowth impedes the gallop of our fleet cayuse pony or obscures our vision. On the background of fragrant greenery the "dun deer's hide" is thrown with statuesque distinctness, and among the low trees the whirring grouse is easily discerned. Nor is the disciple of Nimrod alone considered. After our hunt we may move to Trout Lake, and here the very ghost of the lamented Walton might come as to a paradise. Trout Lake is a shallow pool half a mile in length, encircled with pleasant groves and grassy glades, marred now, however, by the encroachment of ranches. Into it there come at intervals from the ice-cold mountain inlet perfect shoals of the most gamey and delicious trout. On rafts, or the two or three rude skiffs that have been placed there, one may find all piscatorial joys and may abundantly supply his larder free of cost. A few ranches here and there furnish accommodations for those who are too delicate to rest on the bosom of Mother Earth. But no extended trip can be taken without committing oneself to the wilderness delights of sleeping with star-dials for roof and flickering camp-fire for hearth. And what healthy human being would exchange those for the feverish, pampered life of the modern house? Let us have the barbarism, and with it the bounding pulses and exuberant life of the wilderness.
But now, with stomachs and knapsacks filled, and with that pervasive sense of contentment which characterises the successful hunter and angler, we must get up our cayuse ponies from their pastures on the rich grass of the open woods, saddle up, and then off for the mountain, whose giant form now overtops the very clouds. About two miles from Trout Lake the trail crosses the White Salmon, and we find ourselves at the foot of the mountain. For eight miles we follow a trail through open woods, park-like, with huge pines at irregular intervals, and vivid grass and flowers between, a fair scene, the native home of every kind of game.
As we journey on delightedly through these glades, rising, terrace after terrace, we can read the history of the mountain in the rock beneath our feet and the expanding plains and hills below. All within the ancient amphitheatre is volcanic. There are four main summits, a central dome, vast, symmetrical, majestic, pure-white against the blue-black sky of its unsullied height. The three other peaks are broken crags of basalt, leaning as for support against the mighty mass at the centre. Around the snow-line of the mountain many minor cones have been blown up. These have the most gaudy and brilliant colouring, mainly yellow and vermilion. One on the south-east is especially noticeable. From a deep cañon it rises two thousand feet as steep as broken scoriæ can lie. The main part is bright red, surmounted by a circular cliff of black rock. Probably the old funnel of the crater became filled with black rock, which, cooling, formed a solid core. The older material around it having crumbled away, it remains a solid shaft.But fire has not wrought all the wonders of the mighty peak. Ice has been most active. The mountain was once completely girdled with glaciers. Rocks are scratched and grooved five miles below the present snow-line. The ridges are strewn with planed rocks and glacial shavings and coarse sand. Some of the monticules on the flanks of the mountain have been partially cut away. Many have been entirely obliterated. But the ice has now greatly receded. Instead of a complete enswathement of ice there are some six or seven distinct glaciers, separated by sharp ridges, while the region formerly the chief home of the ice is now a series of Alpine meadows. Like most of the snow peaks, Mt. Adams is rudely terraced, and the terraces are separated into compartments by ridges, forming scores and hundreds of glades and meads. In some of these are circular ponds, from a few square rods to several acres in area. These lakes are found by the hundred around the mountain and in the region north of it. They are one of the charms and wonders of the country. About most of them tall grass crowds to the very edge of the water. Scattered trees diversify the scene. Throughout these glades flow innumerable streams, descending from level to level in picturesque cascades, and composed of water so cold and sparkling that the very memory of it cools the after thirst. Sometimes the tough turf grows clear over, making a verdant tunnel through which "the tinkling waters slip." Here and there streams spout full-grown from frowning precipices.
But we are not content to stand below and gaze "upward to that height." We must needs ascend. In climbing a snow peak a great deal depends on making camp at a good height and getting a very early start. By a little searching one may find good camping places at an elevation of seven thousand or even eight thousand feet altitude. This leaves only four thousand or five thousand feet to climb on the great day, and by starting at about four o'clock a party may have sixteen hours of daylight. This is enough, if there be no accidents, to enable any sound man of average muscle,—or woman either, if she be properly dressed for it,—to gain the mighty dome of Adams.
At the time of our last ascent we camped high on a great ridge on the south side of the mountain, having for shelter a thick copse of dwarf firs. So fiercely had the winds of centuries swept this exposed point that the trees did not stand erect, but lay horizontal from west to east.
With pulses bounding from the exhilarating air, and our whole systems glowing with the exercise and the wild game of the preceding week, we stretch ourselves out for sleep, while the stars blaze from infinite heights, and our uneasy camp-fire strives fitfully with the icy air which at nightfall always slides down the mountain side.
Sweet sleep till midnight, and then we found ourselves awake all at once with a unanimity which at first we scarcely understood, but which a moment's observation made clear enough. A regular mountain gale had suddenly broken upon us. It had waked us up by nearly blowing us out of bed. Our camp-fire was aroused to newness of life by the gale, and the huge fire-brands flew down the mountain side, igniting pitchy thickets, until a fitful glare illuminated the lonely and savage grandeur of the scene. The whole sky seemed in motion. Then a cloud struck us. Night, glittering as she was a moment before with her tiaras of stars, was suddenly transformed into a dull, whitish blur. The vapour formed at once into thick drops on the trees and was precipitated in turn on us. Occasional sleet and snowflakes struck us with almost the sting of flying sand when we ventured to peep out. Covering ourselves up, heads and all, we crowded against each other and grimly went to sleep.We woke again, chattering with cold, to find it perfectly calm. The morning star was blazing over the spot where day was about to break. The sky was absolutely clear, not a mote on its whole concavity. The wind had swept and burnished it. The mountain towered above us cold and sharp as a crystal. There was a still, solemn majesty about it in the keen air and early light which struck us with a thrill of fear. The light just before daybreak is far more exact than the scarlet splendour of morning or the blinding blaze of noon. The world below us was a level sea of clouds. We seemed to be on an island of snow and rock, or on a small planetoid winging its own way in space. Yet beyond the puncturing top of a few of the Simcoe peaks a wavering line that just touched the glowing eastern sky, told of clear weather a hundred leagues up the basin of the Columbia. Out of the ocean of cloud, the great peaks of Hood and St. Helens rose, cold and white, like icebergs on an Arctic sea.
Coffee, ham, and hardtack, and then out on the ice and snow, just as the first warm flush of morning is gilding the mighty mass above us. The snow, hardened by the freezing morning, affords excellent footing, and in the sharp, bracing air we feel capable of any effort. We gain the summit of a bright red knob, one of the secondary volcanoes that girdle the mountain. At its peak are purple stones piled up like an altar, as indeed it is, though the incense from it is not of human kindling. The sun is not fairly up, but from below the horizon it splits the hemisphere of the sky into a hundred segments by its auroral flashes. And now we begin to climb a volcanic ridge, rising like a huge stairway, with blocks of stone as large as a piano. This is a tongue of lava, very recent, insomuch that it shows no glacial markings, and yet enough soil has accumulated upon it to support vegetation. It can be seen, a dull red river, three hundred yards wide, extending far down the mountain side. How well the old Greek poet described the process that must have taken place here: "Ætna, pillar of heaven, nurse of snow, with fountains of fire; a river of fire, bearing down rocks with a crashing sound to the deep sea."
The ridge becomes very steep, at an angle of probably thirty-five or forty degrees, and we climb on all fours from one rock to another. At last we draw ourselves up a huge wedge of phonolite and find ourselves at the summit of the first peak. Six hundred yards beyond, muffled in white silence, rises the great dome. It is probably five hundred feet higher than the first peak. To reach it we climb a bare, steep ridge of shaly, frost-shattered rock, in which we sink ankle deep, a difficult and even painful task with the laboured breathing of twelve thousand feet altitude.
But patience conquers, and at about noon, seven hours and a half from the time of starting, we stand on the very tip of the mountain. Ten minutes panting in the cold wind and then we are ready to look around. Within the circle of our vision is an area for an empire. Northward is a wilderness of mountains. High above all, Mt. Rainier lifts his white crown unbroken to the only majesty above him, the sky. The western horizon, more hazy than the eastern, is punctuated by the smooth dome and steely glitter of Mt. St. Helens. Far southward, across a wilderness of broken heights, rises the sharp pinnacle of Mt. Hood, and far beyond that, its younger brother, Jefferson. Still beyond, are the Alpine peaks of the Three Sisters, nearly two hundred miles distant. Our vision sweeps a circle whose diameter is probably five hundred miles. Far westward the white haze betokens the presence of the sea. A deep blue line north-eastward, far beyond the smooth dome of St. Helens, stands for Puget Sound. Numerous lakes gleam in woody solitudes.Having looked around, let us now look down. On the eastern side the mountain breaks off in a monstrous chasm of probably four thousand feet, most of it perpendicular. We crawl as we draw near it. Lying down in turn, secured by ropes held behind, fearful as much of the mystic attraction of the abyss as of the slippery snow, we peep over the awful verge. Take your turn, gentle reader, if you would know what it seems to gaze down almost a mile of nearly perpendicular distance. Points of rock jut out from the pile and eye us darkly. That icy floor nearly a mile below us is the Klickitat glacier. From beneath it a milk-white stream issues and crawls off amid the rocky desolation. At the very edge of the great precipice stands a cone of ice a hundred feet high. Green, blue, yellow, red, and golden, the colours play with the circling sunbeams on its slippery surface, until one is ready to believe that here is where rainbows are made. We roll some rocks from a wind-swept point, and then shudder to see them go. They are lost to the eye as their noise to the ear, long before they cease to roll. Silence reigns. There is no echo. The thin air makes the voice sound weak. Our loudest shouts are brief bubbles of noise in the infinite space. A pistol shot is only a puff of powder. Even the rocks we set off are swallowed up and we get no response but the first reluctant clank as they grind the lip of the precipice. Nor do we care much for boisterous sounds. We are impelled rather to silence and worship.
But now once more to earth and camp! For pure exhilaration, commend me to descending a snow peak. For a good part of Mt. Adams one may descend in huge jumps through the loose scoriæ and volcanic ashes. Some of the way one may slide on the crusty snow, a perfect whiz of descent. How the thin wind cuts past us, and how our frames glow with the dizzy speed! Such a manner of descent is not altogether safe. As we are going in one place with flying jumps on the softening snow, a chasm suddenly appears before us. It looks ten feet wide, and how deep, no one could guess. To stop is out of the question. We make a wild bound and clear it, catching a momentary glance into the bluish-green crack as we fly across. We make the descent in an incredibly short time, only a little more than an hour, whereas it took us over seven hours to ascend. And then the rest and mighty feasts of camp, and the abundant and mountainous yarns, and the roaring camp-fire, whose shadows flicker on the solemn snow-fields, until the stars claim the heavens, and, while the wailing cry of the cougars rises from a jungle far below us, we sleep and perform again in dreams the day's exploits.Of all scenes in connection with Mt. Adams, the most remarkable in all the experience of those who witnessed it, and one of those rare combinations which the sublimest aspects of nature afford, was at the time of the outing of the Mazama Club in 1902. The party had reached the summit in a dense fog, cold, bitter, forbidding, and nothing whatever to be seen. All was a dull, whitish blur. In the bitter chill the enthusiasm of some of the climbers evaporated and they turned away down the snowy waste. Others remained in the hope of a vanishing of the cloud-cap. And suddenly their hopes were realised. A marvellous transformation scene was unveiled like the lifting of a vast curtain. The cloud-cap was split asunder. The great red and black pinnacles of the summit sprung forth from the mist like the first lines in a developing photographic plate. Then the glistening tiaras and thrones of ice and snow caught the gleams of the unveiled sun, and lo, there we stood in mid-heaven, seemingly upon an island in space, with no earth about us, just the sun and the sky above and a great swaying ocean of fog below. But now suddenly that ocean of fog was rent and split. The ardent sun burned and banished it away. Mountain peak after peak caught the glory. Range after range seemed to rise and stand in battle array. The transformation was complete. A moment before we were swathed in the densest cloud-cap, blinded with the fog. Now we were standing on a mount of transfiguration, with a new world below us. Every vestige of smoke or fog was gone. We could see the shimmer of the ocean to the west, the glistening bands of Puget Sound and the Columbia. Far eastward the plains of the Inland Empire lay palpitating in the July sun. The whole long line of the great snow-peaks of the Cascades were there revealed, the farthest a mere speck, yet distinctly discernible, two hundred miles distant. One unaccustomed to the mountains would not believe it possible that such an area could be caught within the vision from a single point.
It may be understood that the description of one of our great snow-peaks is, in general terms, a description of all. With every one there are the same azure skies, the same snow-caps, the same crevassed and glistening rivers of ice, the same long ridges with their intervening grassy and flowery meads, purling streams, and reflecting lakes. With the name of each there rises before Mazama or Mountaineer the remembrance of the camp of clouds or stars upon the edge of snow-bank, the sound of the bugle at two o'clock in the morning of the great climb, the hastily swallowed breakfast of coffee and ham, while climbers stand shivering around the flickering morning fire, the approaching day with its banners of crimson behind the heights, the daubing of faces with grease-paint and the putting on of goggles, amid shouts of laughter from each at the grotesque and picturesque ugliness of all the others, then the hastily grasped alpenstocks, the forming in line, and at about four o'clock, while the first rays of the sun are gilding the summit, the word of command and the beginning of the march.Each great peak has its zones, so significant that each seems a world in itself. There is first the zone of summer with its fir and cedar forests at the base of the peak, from a thousand feet to twenty-five hundred above sea-level. In the case of most of our great peaks this zone consists of long gentle slopes and dense forests, with much undergrowth, though on the eastern sides there are frequently wide-open spaces of grassy prairie. Then comes the zone of pine forest and summer strawberry, with its fragrant air and long glades of grass and open aisles of columned trees, "God's first temples," pellucid streams babbling over pebbles and white sands, and occasionally falling in cascades over ledges of volcanic rock. This zone rises in terraces which attest the ancient lava flow, at an increasing grade over the first, though at most points one might still drive a carriage through the open pine forests. Then comes the third zone, a zone of parks. The large pine trees now give way to the belts of subalpine fir and mountain pine and larch, exquisite for beauty, enclosing the parks and grouped here and there in clumps like those in some old baronial estate of feudal times. This is the zone of rhododendron, shushula, phlox, and painted brush. Through the open glades the ptarmigan and deer wander, formerly unafraid of man, but now, alas, under the ban of civilisation. The upward slope has now increased to twenty or twenty-five degrees, and to a party of climbers a frequent rest and the quaffing of the ice-cold stream that dashes through the woods afford a happy feature of the ascent. At the upper edge of this zone, at an elevation of probably seven thousand feet, beside some dashing stream or some clear pool, fed from the snows above, is the place for the camp. And such a camp! Oh, the beauty of such an unspoiled spot!
It is from such a camp at the upper edge of the paradise zone that a party sets forth at the four o'clock hour to attain the highest. So the march on the great day of a final climb carries us at once into a fourth zone. This is the zone of avalanche and glacier, the zone of elemental fury and warfare, a zone of ever-steepening ascent, thirty degrees, a zone of almost winter cold at night, but with such a dazzling brightness and fervour in the day as turns the snow-banks to slush and sends the fountains tearing and cutting across the glaciers and triturating the moraines. Vegetation has now almost ceased, though the heather still drapes the ledges on the eastern or southern exposures, and occasionally one of the tenacious mountain pines upholds the banner of spring in some sheltered nook. This wind-swept and storm-lashed zone is also the zone of the wild goats and mountain sheep. On the precipitous ridges and along the narrow ledges at the margin of glaciers they can be seen bounding away at the approach of the party, sure-footed and swift at points where the nerve of the best human climber might fail. This zone carries the climbers to ten or eleven thousand feet of elevation is the place for the Mountaineers and Mazamas to take the half-hour rest on their arduous march. A sweet rest it is. We pick out some sheltered place on the eastern slope, and stretch ourselves at full length on the warm rocks, while the icy wind from the summit goes hurtling above us. And how good the chocolate and the malted milk and the prunes and raisins of the scanty lunch taste, while we rest and feel the might of elemental nature again fill our veins and lungs and hearts.But then comes a fifth zone, the last, the zone of the Arctic. This is the zone of the snow-cap. The glaciers are now below. All life has ceased. The grade has ever steepened, till now it is forty degrees or more. The snow is hummocked and granulated. Here is where part of the climbers begin to stop. Legs and lungs fail. Camp looks exceedingly good down there at the verge of the forests. They feel as though they had lost nothing on the summit worth going up for. A nausea, mountain sickness, attacks some. Nosebleed attacks others. Things look serious. Icy mists sometimes begin to swirl around the presumptous climbers. Frost gathers on hair and mustache and eyebrows. The unaccustomed or the less ambitious or weaker lose heart and bid the rest go on, for they will turn toward a more summer-like clime. Generally about half an ordinary party drop out at this beginning of the Arctic zone. But the rest shout "Excelsior," take a firmer grasp of alpenstock, stamp feet more vehemently into the snow, and with dogged perseverance move step by step up the final height. Inch by inch, usually in the teeth of a biting gale, leaning forward, and panting heavily, they force