12.4 miles of hiking • 6750' elevation gain • 1 night
After last week, I was really doubting myself, and wondering whether I could do another summit just one week later.
So, naturally, I emailed my climb leader George, who was one of my BCEP instructors, asking him what pace he intended on taking. I was assured, "Don't worry Sarah, I take a slow pace on this one."
So I figured, worst case scenario, I make it to Lunch counter and hang out if I feel like I can't summit.
We met at the ranger station to pick up permits at 10 am Saturday, then off we went to meet at the trailhead. The ascent to lunch counter was pretty simple and slow paced (though rocky, watch your step), nothing crazy to wear us out for the next day. We arrived and camped fairly low, George assuring us that he gets more summit successes when he starts low rather than pushing it higher the first day. I was fine with actually arriving somewhere early enough to relax, make food, enjoy the view, and turn in early. A 3 am start time was decided so I set my alarm for 2 and 2:30, in case I wanted to snooze. I was a little sad I didn't get myself up to watch the sunset, but I knew I would need the sleep.
I ate some cold oatmeal for breakfast so I wouldn't have to start up a stove (boring) and we got on the snow and on our way around 3:15 am. We could already see the glimmer of distant headlamps, as other early risers were already on their way up the mountain. They actually reminded me a bit of lightning bugs from back in Michigan. I could tell right away my boots were going to be a problem on my heels, maybe wrong socks, perhaps my boots are still not quite broken in. My fingers and toes were a bit cold, but some hot hands kept me happy. Pretty early on, the 9 year old kid on our climb complained of a headache, and after pushing a bit further, it was decided the altitude was too much and he turned around with his dad. Either way, this kid is already kicking ass in climbing, I'm excited for Forest to see where he goes. I can't imagine being 9 and attempting to climb a mountain. From what I hear he is excelling at rock and has a bright future, even if he picked on his dad almost the entire hike in and out. I don't even like kids and I enjoyed his company.
Somewhere along the way during sunrise, I fell back from my group a bit and battled with my inner demons, even let out a bit of a pity cry for myself thinking, "Why the fuck are you doing this?" Honestly, it was probably a bit of the altitude getting to me and my breathing, the mountain making me think I suck, but I got over it when I found my group waiting for me. (I really wasn't that far behind) In the meantime, I nabbed some morning sunrise shots, which I think my focused team forgot to do.
Our sweep and assistant, Megan, was actually far behind me, and was given permission to take a slow pace behind all of us as she had huge issues with blisters on the way in, and had been up Adams a few times before.
After hours of climbing, we finally reached the false summit. Our leader George, was getting hit with some altitude sickness, so we took around an hour break hoping his nausea would break. We kept peering over the edge, looking to see if Megan was on her way, but no luck. Not sure if she was still on her way or had turned around, we continued on, George determined not to let a beautiful clear day summit of Adams get out of his reach. Still feeling sick he trudged on, and told us to go ahead of him and he would meet us at the summit.
I don't know where the power came from, but I actually made it to the top, with my team. This chubby girl made another summit! It was hard, and I'm pretty damn proud of myself. I felt like giving up so many times on the way, but my stubbornness won. We ran into some other Mazama folks on the top, who relayed a message from Megan that she was still truckin', and would either meet us at the summit or wherever we found her on the way down.
It was nasty and rocky below the summit until Pikers Peak,, so we down climbed from there. At the false summit, George determined the snow was soft enough to glissade. I have to say, the steepness made the glissading terrifying but exhilarating. What a rush! So amazing to spend hours ascending, to descend in 30 minutes almost back to camp.
I'm really happy I didn't let my self doubt get to me and I made this summit.
Afterwards, one of our climb team members, invited us to his mothers house in Trout Lake, where we enjoyed a bbq feast and some members took part in some horse riding. What an awesome weekend, but I think I'm done with climbing for a bit.
I think I need an easy weekend with some car camping and beer in my future.