Of all the days to forget the camera, this wasn't it. Spectacular scenery, lighting was great, on and on. And I would hear it. And hear it. And hear it. "Boy, that's really photogen…. Ohhhhhh, sorry Salty! (hee hee hee)." Ah well.
King Ravine has long been on my hit list, and it was better than I expected. The Air LIne and Short Line was a great way to pick up elevation easily on gentle grades and good footing. Nearing the headwall, that degraded quickly into boulder scrambles and rock hopping. No matter, I enjoy this stuff immensely. Brian, Jim and I met up with the rest of the gang at the Subway junction, where you get a full on view of where you're going. Sweet!
There were tricky parts getting up boulders, but eventually the trail turns to small boulders, and steep as anything. I took the lead for a bit to just go and push myself. Massive fun. Near the junction with the Air Line up top, a nice long break for everyone to regroup and then on to the junction. I kept blabbering on and on to Brian about a waterfall on the west wall, "Dude! We have to bushwhack to that! Awesome! Dude! We have to!" He kept saying the first time he came up the ravine, that's EXACTLY what he kept telling himself.
At the junction, plans were laid. Adams was in the clouds, so Jim and Brian would just hang here, I'm saving Adams for my NH3k finish, so I would go up John Quincy Adams for a Trailwrights 72 peak, and the rest would go conquer Adams. J.Q. is untrailed, but an easy rock hop, one just needs to take care not to step on any vegetation, as it is very fragile at this altitude. Although I kept seeing something like stunted birches up here that surprised me.
I took my time on the summit, where I got especially nice views to Madison, the Gulf, and the Carter/Moriah range. It was also to give Jim and Brian some alone time, as Jim tragically lost his daughter a couple of weeks before, and those two are pretty close. A helicopter was constantly ferrying supplies to the hut, as it is being rebuilt. Cool to see at first, annoying after a while.
Returning to the junction, I let the guys know I had talked to the group and said we might go ahead, since getting up and down Adams might take a while, and both Brian and I wanted to check out the Air Line up here, at least for a while to look into the ravine. The gang was all cool with this, so the three of us set off and weren't disappointed. We then dropped down to Valley Way where Jim was more comfortable with the footing. The usual long trudge out. I called into the rest of the gang around sunset and they confirmed they got out about an hour before. A spectacular day and as Jim put it, some good Mountain Therapy for him.