Week 5 – Heavy Rains and Research

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All forecasts called for inches of rain all over Western Washington for the entire weekend. I searched high and low for snow, trails or anything that wouldn’t be too saturated and trying to keep the risk of getting sick low….nothing.

Therefore, I adulted a lot this weekend and got caught up on a lot of my to do list and things around the house. That’s not really enough to keep me motivated and entertained. I did a lot of reading about the 1996 Expedition on Everest, almost finished with my awesome book “Into Thin Air” and I highly recommend it. Then I started to research the routes we’ll be taking in July. I made it to Camp Muir back in September so I took a walk down memory lane.

This is the route Kim and I took from Paradise on the middle bottom up to Camp Muir where we stayed the night.

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This is the view behind the bunks we stayed in that shows the beginning of the route up to the Cathedral rocks and the Ingraham Glacier Flats. See those lines in the snow that kind of look like trails? Those are actually crevasses beginning because it’s late in the season and it’s been pressured under the sun and warmer temperatures all summer long.

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Heading down back to Paradise after a perspective changing trip. We tend to be our worst enemies and doubt our goals which prevents us from achieving them. Before I met Kim and my mountain crew I used to visit Mt. Rainier and day dream about the summit and wonder if I would ever have the GUTS to do this. After making it up past 10,000 ft and staying the night at Camp Muir with no altitude sickness I had a new fever of wanting to summit this mountain.

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I turned around to look back at this view one more time and when I did I had to capture this moment of when I knew I would be back to summit and it would be done with some of the best friends in the world.

Looking at the route below gets me stoked and motivated. It’s pouring cats and dogs on most trails right now and I could be bummed and twiddling my thumbs but I’m writing this as I’m getting ready for a great church service and headed straight to the gym afterwards. No days off, no circumstances can get in the way of my goals. Sometimes we need those quiet weekends to reset, refresh and rechallenge ourselves. Still seeking summits, yall.

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Week Three – Mt. Si

Elevation gain: 3150ft
Elevation: 3900ft
Mileage: 8 miles

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Two days in the Cascades was not enough. We are serious about these mountains and our goal to raise $16k for Climb for Clean air.

We all got home mid day on Sunday, cleaned our gear, repacked and met at the trailhead at 7am on Monday. Pause … we had to get a new park pass because ours was expired but we started on the trail right around 7:30.

It was a great morning full of surprising pink skies in the distance, low number of people and we were making good time despite sore legs and little sleep. When we finally made it to the top it was incredibly windy and we found the perfect boulder to hide behind and enjoy our coffee and snacks. As we sat down we noticed the beautiful view of Rainier. HOW special to see the beautiful mountain you’re training for while you’re training?? It was awesome.

Rainier shining in the background while these little guys had a yummy breakfast. Until next time, Si 🌄

 

Week Two – North Cascades Snow Camping Weekend

January 13-14th, 2018

What a weekend! The mountain family finally got a chance to get back together after the holidays. All day long we dream about places to go and group text each other suggestions for our next adventure.

After seeing Mitch Pittman’s adventure up to Artist point in the snow, we were sold. We saw him at an outdoor event and he confirmed, we had to go. We had just been up to Artist point back in October but this trip would be different and an excuse to use all of our new gear.

We start our trips with a 5 am wake up call and a 6 am meet time. Jessi picked me up and my house and we were on the road to race Kim and Joe to the magical winter wonderland that awaited us.

As soon as we got to the parking lot and brought our bags out we just started laughing because they were about as big and full for an overnight trip as they were for our 4 day backpacking trip this past summer. That’s the point though .. winter camping is completely different. You need the right gear and it’s just flat out bulky.

We made it up the mountain in good time despite Kim and Joe deciding against snowshoes 😉 Still too soon? Almost at the ridge we noticed a few people turning around due to avalanches … they were minor but still necessary to take precaution. Jessi and I hurried to higher ground and out of the avalanche zone. Kim and Joe met up with us and we started to think we might be in a dull, moody whiteout. After being on the ridge for less than 20 minutes the skies parted and blue skies greeted us. This was just the beginning.

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We set up camp, added a few layers and started to enjoy the views. I decided to test out my new InReach that my parents gave me for Christmas and unsponsored I am saying this device is incredible. Not only can I send a text and coordinates from anywhere in the world I can also receive communication back. My parents said the text comes in like normal from me along with a link that shows them on a satellite map exactly where I’m at. What a peace of mind and neat device!!

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Let’s be honest .. how can we not have a photo shoot with that backdrop and our bestie being a photographer? Not going to lie .. this was a hilarious part of the trip.

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I love these girls. They motivate me, push me and encourage me. When you can truly be yourself in your happy place over and over again and still want to spend days at a time with the same people, you know you’ve found your crew.

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We noticed  a few different pink shades of light hitting Mt. Shuksan and everyone on the ridge started to slow down and gather. An amazing display of colors started.

Pinks to orange to yellow and then back to pinks and purples … It didn’t matter what angle you we were looking at, our breath was being taken away one mountain range at a time.

Of course we started trying to snap as many photos as possible and frustrated that none of them can truly capture the moment. We were all getting excited and yelling out loud .. “how did we get so lucky? How did we get so blessed? I can’t believe we live here.” … the mountains just kept screaming for attention and we all stopped to enjoy it.

Table Mountain.

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Mt. Baker in all of her glory. After the sunset show we all settled in our tents to warm up and make dinner. I put my down booties on, hopped in my 0 degree bag and lit my jet boil to prepare my food. I was just beside myself with the feeling of accomplishment, emotion of joy and reward of stillness. After dinner we all started to gather again and Jessi wanted to try some Astrophotography of the stars and Mt. Shuksan. I would say from the shot below with the Big Dipper waving hello, she nailed it.

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Jessi started to shoot and then she yelled out “Erin, come over here I think I caught the northern lights.” She sure did .. the more we looked at the sky with our naked eye and the more she took shots the more realized we had hit the jackpot. As Jessi was taking long exposures I was looking at Mt. Shuksan to try to be as still as possible. I saw 3 shooting stars just sitting there and it made me wonder .. how can one not believe in God? He’s everywhere .. his beauty, grace, strength and warmth shows up in big moments and small moments.

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We woke up the next morning feeling refreshed, still excited and blessed. We traveled down the mountain just in enough time to beat the crowds. We’re still talking about this adventure and my guess is we’ll be talking about it for a long time ❤️

Week One – Rattlesnake Ledge

January 6, 2018

Week one of many hikes. Jessi texted me (Erin) yesterday and asked me if I would be up for a sunrise hike at Rattlesnake Ledge in Snoqualmie. I checked the weather and reluctantly agreed even though I’ve been becoming a more fair weather hiker as of late. We live in the great PNW – how could I become a fair weather hiker? That mindset changed real quickly post holidays. That’s just a small example of what this entire journey will look like – accountability, challenges, early mornings and constant motivation.

Jessi and I had a great hike up making it in about 45 minutes without really pushing ourselves too much and we even had the ledge to ourselves for a solid half hour. Despite the freezing cold and wind that picked up we ended up staying at the summit for 2 hours just catching up, talking out goals and taking fun photos. We decided in that moment that we are going to document this journey because what more fun way to look back on our adventure than a fun and interactive blog? We’re more determined than ever.

We are attempting to summit Mt. Rainier in July which has been a long time goal of mine. That being said we wanted to take it to the next level and raise money for the American Lung Association to help meet their goal of saving lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research.

As long as we are healthy enough to train, climb and summit, we will do so in the honor of others. We ask that you join us in this journey not only with financial support but also emotionally and spiritually. The mountains are a special place to us and we can’t wait to bring you along on the adventure with us in every way possible!

Tomorrow the mountain crew is getting together to go over our our summit training plan, meal prep, hikes for the year, etc. Basically, 2018 is off to a GREAT start – stay tuned for more adventures! Please leave us a comment of curiosity, encouragement, tips or advice. We’d love to hear from each of you along this journey and we WILL be responding and sharing details of our journey.

Elevation gain: 1160ft

Elevation: 2078ft

Mileage: 4 miles

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