Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Summit

At the summit crater


Guided by RMI Guides, Geoff and Bridgette at about 0850 PDT on 12 August 2013 we crested the summit of Mt Rainier, WA. Few other thrills have matched the accomplishment and exertion of effort. Although the wind and blowing snow only allowed us about 20 minutes in the crater of the summit, I savored every second.

I carried a flag to honor those on my new journey with B. H. Carroll Theological Institute. I want that flag to represent all who are part of that community of faith and learning as they reach the summits to which God has called them. 

Me crossing the ice bridge


We left Camp Muir about 0100, and began our climb on the Disappointment Cleaver route. By the time we reached the top of the cleaver, three of our group had turned back. As I sat where I turned back two years ago, I knew I would make it unless something outside my control happened. 






The Ice Step

The most frightening section of the climb was the section of trail the had you climbing on a 2-foot wide path that led around a blind corner while changing moving belays to cross a ladder and then climb a second ladder over two cravasses. It was harrowing, and your adrenaline pumped through your veins like you were being chased by a wild animal. 

Our rope team traversing below the summit

The hardest part was above "high break" when the winds picked up to 30 mph and we were pummeled by flying snow pellets. Waking against the wind, pounded by ice pellets, uphill at 14,000 feet was the hardest thing I've ever done. But, that's mountaineering, and it made the trip be all it was supposed to be. 



Meeting Kim at the base

The highlight of the event was coming off the climb into Paradise and there was my wife, Kim, who had flown up with Sarah Craig to surprise me on my 60th birthday. I cried as I hugged and thanked her for the best birthday ever! I could not have asked for a more wonderful experience as Jim's family had also made a birthday cake for me as they greeted their family members. (The rope teams who were with me sang happy birthday to me as we sat in the summit crater and were pushed around by the blasts of wind.)




Thanks to Jim Craig for his friendship, encouragement, and orchestrating this entire adventure. Having family-like friends like Jim, Amy Nash and Jason Smith along made the whole thing meaning-filled. Thanks to the group, Don, Greg, Amnon, Scott, and my other rope partner, Ryan. The chemistry was the best, and there was never a dull moment.

The 2013 Rainier Team

Words and pictures cannot describe the beauty and majesty of climbing on the side of a mountain like Rainier. The mountain reminds you that you are but a speck of dust and a second in time compared to its size and age. You are fully aware you climb at the mercy of God and Creation. This is not your doing. The experience is the mountain's gift to you. 

Amy at sunrise

My verses for the climb were Philippians 3:12-14 and Hab. 3:19. The tune I sang when I wavered on the way was "One Things Remains." The Holy Spirit guided my steps and made our way secure.

If you are willing to train and do the work, this trip is worth it all. Go for it!

Thanks to Jason Smith for the photos on the climb. Check out his Facebook page for more. 

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