Attempt #1 (June 24, 2013)
“I hate this mountain,” I heard myself mutter aloud to no one in particular as we descended the steep glacial face. I may have even included expletives in my ever-growing frustration as I said it again, and maybe again. Our climbing team made it the highest of any other team on the mountain that day. But, that wasn’t consolation for our efforts. Like all other teams that day, our climb was sabotaged by the constant deluge of rain and sleet mixed with high wind and astonishingly low visibility. I could see the boots of my friend, Anna, immediately in front of me, but not those of the man in front of her.
We took a break at Devil’s Kitchen (10,400 – 850 vertical feet short of the summit), while the three guides weighed the risks of moving onward. After much deliberation, they turned us around.
As frustrating as it was, turning around was probably for the best since I had been on crutches only 1 ½ weeks prior and was just learning to walk again. Badass or foolish, I still don’t know. But, despite my foot being taped tightly and the double plastic boot holding my ankle firmly in place, the dull ache from slamming my still injured foot into the snow cover for hours found me buckling against a sharp, intense pain. I hated this mountain. I had no intentions of returning… and, then I began highpointing. So, here I am making a second attempt on Mt. Hood in what will be almost exactly four years after my first attempt.
More to come in June 2017 as attempt #2 is officially booked! My long-time friend, Karen, and highpointing friend, Rob, will join me in this adventure as we seek to reach the summit of what will hopefully be highpoint #3 for Karen (includes Mt. Whitney), #46 for Rob, and #43 for me. Fingers crossed for good weather.