Monday, August 31, 2009

12,200 Ft.

More than two years ago when I first attempted to climb Mt. Adams, I had no idea what to expect. I'd stared out at the various peaks in WA with so much wonderment and curiosity, and they tugged at me. I didn't have any concept of what it would take to climb a mountain, but I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted to try, at least. I didn't own a tent, or a sleeping bag. I'd never used crampons or an ice axe. And I didn't care. I just wanted to give it a shot. To know what it felt to stand on top of a mountain.

Yeah well, it was really effing hard. And because it was early June, it was really, really cold. During that climb, I was scared most of the time and it was the toughest mental game of my life to tell myself to keep going. We didn't summit. We made it to the false summit, or Piker's Peak - which is about 600 feet from the top - and we were forced to turn around due to weather. I have to be honest, there was a small part of me in that moment that was glad. It was over. I just had to get back down.

Two weekends ago I stood on the top of Mt. Adams. Bess, Tyson and I started climbing around 4am with headlamps. I hadn't slept a wink due to nerves and I was scared thinking back to two years ago, wondering if by some chance I had gained some climbing confidence since that time.

Sunrise on Mt. St. Helens:

Mt. Hood behind Bess:

Climbing in late August proved to be significantly different. So much of the trail that was covered in snow before was now melted out. It was warmer. Less windy. And I dunno, it wasn't my first climb anymore. It took us seven hours to reach the summit and as I took my last few steps I felt the tears well up in my throat.

Mt. Rainier from the summit:

After a little lunch and a few pictures, we headed back down. Four and a half hours later we reached the car and I was pretty certain my feet were going to fall off.

It was grueling and exhausting, but also rewarding in some odd, torturous way. I'm glad we did it, but I can't say I had an amazing time. I guess I can check it off the list though, which is pretty fantastic.


chupacabra said...

When do you make your bid for Everest?

tracymik said...

Way to go Andrea! When you saw Mt. Rainier from the top, did it make you want to climb it, too? I think it'd be fun to do the hike around Mt. Rainier...though there's also a bike ride around it I might do in the future :) Anyway, I enjoyed the pics!

Jamieofalltrades said...

I'm so proud of you guys! Such an accomplishment. Beautiful pictures too!

jhoran403 said...

that is so badass...I want to climb mountains with you guys

jhoran403 said...
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