Given the circumstances I wouldn’t do anything else differently, and will practice compass on another night hike.
A couple of days ago I came home, and using a lengthy June evening beforehand and a late start to work the following day, played with our children and also did a couple things from the yard, sufficient to stop gap responsibility, prior to grinding a sleeping bag and Neoair at a little backpack, along with a couple of granola bars, a few coffee, a Windboiler, windshirt, headlamp, along with reproduce of Wind, Sand, and Stars. The vague plan was to drive 30 minutes out town, hike several miles along some rough and trailless ridges, camp in the open with an exceptional sunset view, wake with the sun and hike a few miles outside and be home directly about when everybody would wake up.
The day went to plan. I waffled a bit about my camp place, with the frightening gusts appearing to endorse the possible 40 mph winds that might kick up at the night, but eventually decided to stay in the one flat spot, a bed of limestone chips maybe perhaps not quite 6 ft between slabs, in the very summit of the final mountain until the ponderosa parks and rock fins drop emphatically into the Missouri and the civilized valley outside. Gear choice was crucial ; a cooker that didn’t head the gusts, a pad thick enough to sleep on rocks, a bunch light enough to take the sheep trails and form scramble up. Organizing camp turned into a proposed exercise in keeping either a rock or my weight atop the many things, like my sleeping bag, which would have otherwise blown into the canyon below.
My summit sat above, west, and just south of a leading and tender saddle splitting two canyons. The very first crux was staying east of the spine and not ripping any holds off since I downclimbed in the trees. The rain was stable almost any the windshirt sleeves started to soak up a few drops. The spruce canopy maintained much of the rain and the largely bare understory made a headlamp column mostly unnecessary, so long as I might truly feel the terrain curving vaguely away to both sides I was headed straight in the saddle. After I hit that, it turned out to be a simple job to angle left and up into the upcoming rough ridge. Correctly reenacting yesterdays angle in reverse could bring the bonus of overlooking the worst talus, but was not needed. After that, turn the ridge and flatten the angle, largely sidehilling straight to another saddle. Here I made one of two errors, possibly hitting the ridge too large to start with, or angling up as much along the north face. In the event I passed over the next saddle, and lacking a compass along with being paranoid about not dropping too early, which would place me in the inappropriate basin entirely, I wrapped too much round the mountain. I moved down too late, but intuitively held west accurate once I decided to trust my gut. I grabbed the right drainage far too late after I started falling in earnest, and overshot, hitting on the handrail of the main road first.
The wind didn’t disturb my sleep, but, naturally, I awakened just after 0400 with rain on my face. The town lights were distinct in the space, however, their brilliance has been shaved flat by what could only be clouds. I’d backup strategies, a grassy spot onto a dangling meadow 50 yards below in case the end proved too strong for sleep, loamy stains beneath dark wood a further 100 yards in case it rained, but instinct needed me stuffing my pack and moving about northeast within a minute. Directly line to the automobile was maybe two miles, half at least on the ground, no set trails of any kind, and that I had no illusions of how delicate several of the crucial moves would shortly prove.