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Survivors on the Summit

June 26, 2011

The first view of Mt. Hood's summit, after ascending the "Old Chutes" climbing route. Photo by Colin Stapp.

The Mt. Hood team and the first-ever Survivor Summit team stood on the top of Mt. Hood (11,237 feet) in early June at about 7 AM.  We had a perfect weather forecast and the best snow conditions possible  for steady cramponing.

Witnessing the Survivor team ascend the mountain in matching pink jackets was a moving moment, as they exemplify the reason we all come together to climb each year.  It was a poignant beginning to the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer’s 15th anniversary year.

The snowcat departed historic Silcox Hut (Oregon’s highest hotel room) with two groups, an hour apart.  We caught a ride on this massive snow machine to the top of the Palmer chairlift, where we began kicking our steps up the mountain.  The moon was bright red and the firm snow crunched beneath our boots for the first couple of hours. We got our view of the morning sun when we stepped onto the summit.

The Climb to Fight Breast Cancer team celebrates Survivors! Photo by Colin Stapp.

The Pacific Northwest “Ring of Fire” was visible.  The view of Mts. Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, the Sisters and Mt. Jefferson was brilliant.  After savoring our summit success on the most beautiful of mornings, we hugged, high-fived and fist-bumped jubilantly.

Fourteen strangers became friends.  We’ll keep in touch for many years to come.  The mountain magic grabs ahold of our hearts every time.


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