Summit on 8/18/07
My Dad and I hiked on Saturday and weather was crazy. We did the Amm. to the Lake of the Clouds Hut, then braved the Crawford path the rest of the way to the summit. The last stretch was insane-it was hailing, the wind was pushing us around, and we could barely see one cairn from the next- but we made it to the summit! After we warmed up and ate, we headed back down the Crawford path, took the gulfside to the cog, followed the cog down where they are working on making something (new powerlines I think) untill it caught up with the Jewell which we took down. The wind was blowing in our faces the whole way down untill we got below the tree line.
It made for an awesome experience. After the Hut, you just had to push yourself, mentally and physically, because the weather was getting worse and worse as you approached the summit, and you were getting wetter and colder and being pelted by hail. Many people at the summit for taking the Cog or a shuttle back down. Going down was easier though because you knew the weather was getting better as you went down.
Definitely not for the faint of heart though!
I had the same plan for our hike (up Ammo, down Jewell). I was hiking with inexperienced hikers. As we got close to the Alpine Zone, the wind really started to pick up. That's when I knew we were probably going to turn around and forget about the summit.
We got to Lakes with about a 70 mph wind coming up the mountain (sleet, freezing rain). Once in the hut, I was mainly fearful of hypothermia and losing the trail by not being able to spot the cairns. After deliberating, we heading down Ammo, which I promise NEVER to do again if there is a reasonable alternate. Wet rocks, new boots, steep grade. Bad stuff.
Congrats on making the summit. We weren't as brave!