A Reflection of Mount Adams
I did it! I climbed Mt. Adams, the Mazama Glacier Route, because friends and family donated to my Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.
We had a climbing permit and a plan to traverse across the Yakama Nation land. We were going to stay two nights and head for the summit. Our group consisted of our lead guide, Doug Ironside (a fifty-something man as strong and colorful as his name suggests), his support team (two guides, one that is an Eagle Scout!), and the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer participants. We hiked to a campsite beside a beautiful lake. Dinner was pasta and pesto, served amidst the glacial setting with the sun setting atop the looming summit. Spectacular.
It was a lovely night, balmy and calm. We settled in early. After a peaceful night, we awake from our tents and rub our eyes gazing in awe at the hovering summit. After breakfast we went off to snow school where we learned proper glacier travel, ice axe self arrest skills, and how to travel as a rope team. The setting was the beautiful lower Mazama glacier with magnificent Castle Rock, named for its spires. The colorful Little Mt. Adams was in front of us with its alpine meadow, lava field, and volcanic dome. A mountain goat stopped by to see what we were up to and then scampered off when we got too close.
It is a surreal experience to be awakened in the middle of the night, gear up, step outside your tent, with a sky full of stars in your face, and know that you are about to embark on a challenging journey. We rope up and the journey begins. It is a silent, internal one. Shush, shush – heavy breathing. Crunch, crunch – crampon boot steps on snow. I wonder, “what am I doing out here on a remote mountain in the middle of the night, on a glacier?” Then I remember, I am doing this to fight breast cancer with all my friends and family that have supported me along the way. My mind eases and I travel on.
We leave the Mazama Glacier and travel up on the Klickitat Glacier to meet the popular South Spur trail. Here we remove our harnesses and leave the ropes behind to join the other climbers who have chosen a less difficult route. There are nice steps cleared by hundreds of people who wanted to reach the summit. I’d be cruising except for the fact that I have already been up for four hours.
Soon, I crest and see the summit. I have done it. I am on top of the 2nd tallest volcano in Washington state – and it’s because of the people that donated to my Climb to Fight Breast Cancer, to fund life-saving research at the Hutchinson Center. Thank you all.