On June 11th Yvonne, Anne Gore and I climbed Cantata Peak via the standard route. We began the hike from the South Fork trailhead around 9 am and reached the ridge between Eagle and Symphony lake at 10am and were soon hiking up the drainage that puts you in the large bowl on the north west side of Cantata. We then hiked across this and up and over a bump on the west ridge and were soon hiking across the ridge to the base of the final ridge to the summit.
We reached the base of the final ridge at 11:30 where we stopped and ate lunch. The weather which had started out decent, had continued to deteriorate and our views diminished to the point where we could barely see Calliope to our south. We chatted for a while and decided to keep going until it became too poor to see or climb.
We began the final ridge section by first climbing up a series of gullies and ramps. The route is pretty straight forward but you are forced to hunt around a bit to find the easiest path. At times large rock walls blocked our progress and we were forced to traverse left and right in search of an easier passage.
After climbing for about a 1 1/2 hours we reached the crux of the route. JT describes this section as follows: "The key move of the climb. Once you get to this low saddle (obvious by the change in rock quality and color - there is a section of crumbly, black rock here) the easiest route leaves the ridge and traverses to an open scree gully system that will take you back to the ridge and on to the summit."
The weather had continued to deteriorate and it was starting to snow; however we could smell the summit so we scrambled across the col. After the col it was a long traverse across the south face to a large scree gully where we then scrambled an additional 500' to the summit in a blinding snow squall.
The summit was cold and windy so we quickly signed our names and then turned tail and ran back down to get out of the wind. We descended the scree gully and then traversed back to the col. It was still snowing and the col had gotten slick so we took turns carefully down climbing and traversing the col. Luckily the black rock is very shattered and thus the sharp edges make for excellent foot placements even when wet. After the col we scrambled back down the ridge, reaching the base of it at 3:30.
After we had descended the ridge, the snow stopped and the skies began to clear and we had a nice hike out.
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