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Glissading Glory

January 25, 2011

The summit team on Mt. Hood with our "green" banner!

When climbing a mountain, as a team, we are generally focused on ascending the peak.  Usually about half way up, when I’m huffing and puffing (in a word – pressure breathing), I start thinking about coming down.  During some of my early summits, I was so focused on conserving my energy to get down that I didn’t really enjoy the glorious moments on top.  I take the words of world-renowned mountain climber Ed Viesturs very seriously, “Getting to the top is optional, but getting down is mandatory.”

Several of our Climb to Fight Breast Cancer peaks allow for some creative, energy-saving descents though. Glissading is the ultimate downhill reward.  It’s like being a 6-year-old kid again on a sled.

The glissading trenches on Mt. Adams

Back in the early days of the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer, the banners we carried to the summit to honor our loved ones and generous event sponsors were made out of heavy-duty vinyl.

After taking our summit photo and navigating down and around any mountain hazards, we used jump aboard the banner and toboggan down the peak, screaming with glee every inch of the way (always guide-supervised of course).

Now,  as our event banners have gone “green” and are no longer conducive for sledding, we bring trash compactor bags purchased at Safeway. A few folks might roll up and pack plastic sleds for their journey. The cartoon with Wiley E. Coyote and the Acme Rocket Sled could conjure up some visions for the glissading adventure as well…
The slopes on Mount Adams turn into an excellent would-be luge course during the summer months.  Glissading saves hours on the descent and is an exhilarating thrill-ride.  It’s my favorite way to wrap a meaningful day on top of Washington’s second highest volcano.

Seeing this video gears me up for my summer climb. Enjoy!

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