Sky Pond, and to the right you can see the top of Andrews Glacier.
Since I'd never been up here before, I somehow ended up staying on the mashed into the snow trail a little bit longer than I should. The crampons were put on and I faced what would be the steepest snow climb of the day as I made my way uphill and into the basin holding Andrews Creek.
The Sharkstooth. It looks pretty awesome sticking up by itself there. Note the sliver of moon in the upper right corner.
Contrary to earlier, I felt like I was dragging up the glacier. The late turn cost me some time and energy. All I could do was go at my pace. In the end, I topped out the glacier about three hours and fifteen minutes after I left the car.
Taylor Peak loomed large. All I could do was think about the last time I was here and how bad I felt then. I started up, keeping the crampons on for the time being.
McHenrys and Longs in the background. At some point during the hike, I realized that this could be my last ranked 13er in the park. I ran through a mental list and found that it was indeed, with a few unranked points above 13k left to go, such as SE Longs and Glacier Ridge.
Mount Alice had been a thought for this week. Maybe in another week or two, as there is still alot of snow up there.
I had a snack on the summit and planned to lounge around for a little bit. That turned into a get packed and get going quickly when I heard thunder. None of the clouds I could see looked threatening, but better to be on the safe side and head back.
I was able to glissade the slope below the tarn, and felt like I created a minor slide of my own as the top layer of snow was pretty slushy. I stayed down in the basin and followed the footsteps down to get back to the trail in the right place. As it turned out, the turn off wasn't obvious, but I still feel I shouldn't have missed it. Ah well.
The trailside philosopher in me always wants to reply to that question by asking, "Does it matter?", but I usually give some time or distance guess, or the vague, "You're getting there", or something of that sort.
I got back to the car at precisely 3:36, giving me nine hours and twenty one minutes to do this hike. I loved every second of it. Despite only sleeping four and a half hours the night before, I felt rather chipper. 'If only I had my running shoes,' I thought. 'And more water.' 'And a big plate of food.'
The drive back home was uneventful and punctuated with a trip to the grocery store. Not five hours before I had been lounging in sunshine at 13208 feet. Life was perfect for a few hours.
All in, this is not a very technically difficult hike. Andrews Glacier is pretty mellow in grade, though it should be noted it can still form crevasses, and as it terminates into frigid water, a uncontrolled slide down could result in a potentially life threatening situation. Thus I would recommend the usage of an ice axe or hiking poles as an aid to control the speed of your descent. Taylor and Powell are no more than second class on grass and scree in the summer months, or some combination of those and snow in winter.
Powell Peak is named for John Wesley Powell, an early explorer of the west.
Link to hike map on Caltopo.
Powell Peak via Andrews Glacier (all distances measured using the Fire Trail, add about a mile if not):
The Loch, 10190 feet: 1.7 miles each way, 1040 foot elevation gain. Moderate.
Andrews Tarn, 11390 feet: 3.3 miles each way, 2150 foot gain. Moderate+.
Andrews Glacier, 11650 feet (approximately the middle): 3.6 miles one way, 2410 foot gain. Moderate+
Andrews Pass, 11980 feet: 3.8 miles one way, 2740 foot gain. Moderate+.
Taylor Peak, 13153 feet: 4.7 miles one way, 3913 foot gain. Strenuous-.
Powell Peak, 13208 feet: 6.1 miles one way, 3968 foot gain. Strenuous-.
As a whole, this hike covered approximately 12 miles with 4800 feet of gross elevation gain. Strenuous.