Positive Tracks Climber Takes on Mt. Hood
Monday, October 24th, 2016
On June 24, Jasper (a Positive Tracks Summit for Someone climber,) his dad, Mountain Meister and a few other Summit for Someone climbers attempted to climb Mount Hood to raise money for Big City Mountaineers. Positive Tracks doubled the amount Jasper was able to raise through their program with Big City Mountaineers supporting the efforts of Summit for Someone climbers under 23. Here’s his account of the climb.
In short, we weren’t able to make it all the way to the top, but we gave it our best shot with the conditions we faced. Here’s the story:
On June 24, Dad and I woke up before the stroke of midnight and headed out on our adventure up Mount Hood! Though we had gone through snow school a day earlier, learning how to use our ropes, crampons, and ice axes, the mood was anxious because the weather was looking “terrible, just terrible” (as our Irish guide noted).
Nevertheless, we were gonna give it a shot, knowing that our summit success rate was bleak at best. The other three climbers dropped out of our guide group, so only Dad, Ben (a nice guy out of Boston who founded Mountain Meister mountaineering podcast), and I remained.
All geared up – with plastic boots, gaiters, five layers, googles, and helmets – we boarded the snowcat. A half hour ride ensued. The visibility was so bad the snowcat driver got temporarily lost. When we reached the top of the ski resort, we unloaded and were hit by the wind and snow. The falling snow made white horizontal lines through our headlamps which lingered permanently, leaving us mostly blinded.
Despite sustained 60 mph sideways winds, we strapped on our crampons and headed up the invisible mountain in the pitch black. We joined another group and lined up with one guide in the front and one in the rear. After about 20 minutes of climbing, two people dropped out, leaving five of us. Because it was still 2:00 in the morning, and the snow was blowing so hard, the only thing I could see were the two, slowly moving boots walking ahead of me. Our pace was not quick, but we fell into a rhythm. One, two, step, one, two, step. We could barely hear each other at shouting volume, and everything attached to us – including our clothing – took on a thick layer of crusty ice.
We looked like a row of snowmen, but we still felt hopeful and happy. When we reached the point where we would’ve had to start using ropes, the guide had to call off the climb because the winds got too strong. With equal relief and disappointment, we headed down the mountain, satisfied with our efforts.
We had taken on a challenge and went at it, without thinking twice. In some ways, I think the experience was more valuable than standing on the summit on a clear day. We weathered extreme elements, combatting Mother Nature, and we reached a point where we could go no more, not because we didn’t want to, but because we weren’t allowed to. That’s a neat accomplishment to hold onto. The three of us share an experience that nobody else can fully understand or appreciate.
But what matters most is that this effort, and all of your contributions, will help Big City Mountaineers get under-resourced, urban youth into the wilderness to teach them life lessons in nature. Together, you guys helped me raise well over $4000 and counting, which will be doubled by Positive Tracks! That is unbelievable and I am so so grateful. I’ve attached two pictures below:
Know someone under 23 who would be interested in a Summit for Someone climb? http://www.bigcitymountaineers.org/summit-for-someone/2017-summit-for-someone-waitlist