Friday, June 25, 2010

#2 Climb Mt Hood - DONE

Climbing Mt Hood and the whole experience that accompanied it is probably the most intense thing I have done in my life so far. Not only was the actual climb intense but it was preceded by some serious training and working out.
Let's back up to the reason we decided to do this in the first place. The Smarts live in the pacific northwest and are an adventurous group led by the fearless Darrell, who has climbed just about every mountain within a 500 mile radius of his house. One of his life goals is to climb Mt Hood with his wife and 5 children. Seeing as Chelsea had yet to climb we decided to help make Big D's dreams come true. (I will note this was also a life goal of Chelsea's) So our training began back in February with sporadic work outs and lots of talk about gear and what exactly we had gotten ourselves into!

As the trip approached and the anticipation set in, the training intensified. A typical work out was at least an hour and included 45 mins of stair stepper/running/and my personal favorite: jacking the treadmill up to the steepest incline and hoofin' it in our hiking boots with a 25 lbs pack on. (I really wish I had a photo of it - use your imagination!)
Finally the hour approached. Plane tickets purchased. Boots broken in. Playlists created. Motivation and adrenalin coursing through our veins. And then we got the call from Darrell saying that there were avalanches on Hood and that we may not be able to climb. felt like someone punched me in the stomach. We had worked SO hard and the news was incredibly disappointing. But we decided to fly to the west anyway and see what sort of other high adventure activities we could find in the great pacific northwest.
When we arrived in Portland and got settled at our HQ, aka Darcee's house, we found out that the weather had improved and so we decided to attempt our climb! I have to say that I was relieved, I would have been disappointed if hadn't been able to climb. So kicked it into high gear and started assembling all of our packs, gear, clothes, etc.

Michele and Chelsea getting their packs together

We piled into the truck and headed off to the lodge where we would meet up with the rest of the team and catch a few Z's before the climb. At 4:00 am we boarded the snow cat and it took us up to 8,000 feet. From there we put on our crampons and started up the mountain.

Now let me introduce our team. We affectionately referred to ourselves as the Hood Ratz!

First, we have our fearless leader, Big D

Kevin - the rock of our group!

Chelsea and Michele - climber and photographer/videographer extraordinares

And me!

Like I said the climb was pretty intense and incredibly steep in parts. I will let the pictures and video speak for themselves.

Video #1: Part way up the mountain.

Video #2: Michele and Chelsea waiting for the group on the Hogsback.

We were able to climb to 10,900 feet and then were forced to climb back down due to weather and potential avalanches. Even though we didn't summit, it was an INCREDIBLE experience. I am really proud of all of us and what we were able to accomplish. After a long walk down the mountain and long drive to Yakima we were rewarded with hot showers and a delicious homemade dinner cooked by the lovely Sheila. It was a relaxing rest of the weekend at the Smart's home (thanks Smarties!).

An excellent way to relax post climb!


chelsea said...

We are totally hard core!!! And you put the rest of us girls to shame.

Darrell said...

You are the total package! Not only beautiful but a hard core mountaineer as well. Thx for coming west. FYI: Nick and I are just heading out the door to go back to Mt. Hood today, and then, Dynamited cave on Tues and Wed and Mt. Rainier on Thurs and Friday.

sheila said...

Hey Mighty Redhead, we loved having you here at the Smart Inn. Such an impressive group, please know you are always welcome for more adventures in the great Pacific Northwest! Loved your post! Hurry back soon!

Darcee said...

You are amazing. Seriously, I do not say that lightly--not only because you climbed Hood, but I was checking out your list of 30 before 30 and you do EVERYTHING. Seriously, there is nothing that you can't do. It makes me revaluate my goals and I think I need to broaden my horizons a bit. Melissa, you are the TP (total package). So fun to see you. Have an amazing time in Greece!