13 miles of hiking • 5000' elevation gain • 1 night
This was a hard climb for me, I don't do well with hot weather and elevation gain. Add to that our climbing party had two different speeds, one of which started out with way too fast of a pace for me.
We left Portland Saturday morning around 7:30 am, stopping for breakfast near the Zigzag ranger station. I tried to fuel up but my stomach was in knots and I felt a bit nauseous. I thought it was just nerves and that I shouldn't worry about it. I saved half of my breakfast for the trail (trail bacon!) and off we went driving towards Bend.
It is never a good sign for me when the climb leader is tall and lean, since I'm short my steps can just never keep up. I feel like sometimes I have to run to keep up. Either way, I wasn't alone, and our group soon split in half into the speedy group, and I'll just call the rest of us, the "It's fucking hot guys this isn't a race" group. We were camping at the summit crater, so I knew we didn't have a strict curfew for summit. Starting at noon in the heat of the day with loaded packs on such a sun exposed climb really zapped me right away. It didn't help we made a mistake and went down the wrong trailhead at the start, adding around an extra mile in the end to our day. Luckily the mistake was quickly realized but the damage was done.
So off went the fast group, while I lead the way with the slower group. Our leader Terry kept us in view, and checked in on us from time to time. Our sweep was a strong and steady Kate, a long time Mazama member who has summited all of the major 16 peaks. We had one member who was having trouble breathing/feeling nauseous and sadly was eventually turned around.
We took an extended break in the shade after the initial forested section, hoping for some cooler weather. It helped to have a break before the hard stuff began in earnest.
Basically, I trudged miserably along swearing at the sun, with the remaining slow and steady group right behind. But slow and steady still gets there, and we all reached the summit in time to get some dinner in us and watch the sun set.
Absolutely exhausted I went to bed, though part of me wanted to do some night sky watch walking along the crater rim. Instead I opted to get up for sunrise and what a treat it was!
I felt much better and less nauseous after some rest, and the downhill today felt much easier. It felt great to be coming down and watching all the new climbers make their way up. (I saw so many people with hardly any water!) I felt strong coming down, but still couldn't keep up with the trail runner crew even though I was going at a pretty good pace.
Whatever, I'm fine hiking my own hike.