As usual, it has been awhile since I have posted. A lot has happened since my last post in October.
Planning for Mt. rainier
I have been in the process over the past year or so really of planning for an ascent of Mt. Rainier. If you have never climbed or even seen Mt. Rainier, it is going to be more mountaineering than rock climbing like I did with El Capitan. The plan right now is for me to ascend up a glacier on the Disappointment Cleaver route on a sit ski. The team will be fixing ropes for me to do horizontal pull-ups using an ascender attached to the ski. To get down I am hoping to use my Mono Ski for at least some of the distance. Rainier has some crevasses and rock fields to deal with so I am not sure about that part yet.
What goes into planning something like this?
We are planning on about 7 days from arrival to departure, so 5 days of actual ascending and descending. There will be up to 12 people on the team as this is the max a permit allows. The tough part right now is figuring out the budget and how to fund it all. Food, lodging, travel, and guides for 12 people is pretty expensive as you can imagine. We are looking at different scenarios to see which is most feasible including different numbers of people, guides, and other aspects.
I have never really talked about this much before, but planning for an adaptive adventure is much more complicated than planning for someone who can just call up some friends and say “let’s go adventure!”. An adaptive adventure takes a lot of people to access some of the areas where we do things. For instance, it took 12 people to carry me to the base of El Cap just to start the climb. Then there are the dreaded bathroom activities that have to be considered. I can’t just stand up and pee off the side of the mountain or crouch for the other thing haha! For my El Capitan ascent, I brought a foldable camp toilet and used trash bags in it. I am expecting to do the same thing for Rainier but am not sure yet if that is the best idea since I will be on a steep slope. Just something else I have to look into before heading off into the unknown. One more thing to consider is keeping my skin and body healthy for 5 days in the elements of Mt. Rainier. What if it’s too cold? I have no way of knowing if my legs are too cold without actually touching them. What if I get an abrasion or worse yet a pressure sore? Because of bad circulation in my lower body, I don’t heal as fast so that can be life-threatening if I get a sore.
Then there is all the extra gear required to pull off something like this. I need a ski, ropes, harnesses, a lot of extra people, which means more food and gear for all of them. People sometimes talk about the junk show on a climb, when people bring a lot of gear so you can just imagine what a junk show my adventures appear to be.
So lots to consider before embarking on my ascent of Mt. Rainier. As things get closer and I have more plans in place I will keep you all posted.
Big news I got a real job haha. Actually, I wouldn’t call it a job. I am having way too much fun to call it that. I am now the adaptive climbing director for Adaptive Outdoor Education Center in Carrabassett Valley Maine. We have been facilitating our Horizons Adaptive Climbing program in collaboration with EVO Rock and Fitness in Portland Maine for about a month now and it’s growing and growing. At our last Friday session, we had 9 climbers and our next session on Monday is shaping up to be just as big. Coming up on February 11th at Maine Bound Adventure Center on the University of Maine campus in Orono Maine, we will be having our community day for anyone interested in climbing. This will be a free event from 1 pm to 5 pm. You can find all the information and sign up on our website. After the community day, we will be meeting on Wednesday nights at Maine Bound. We are also conducting climbing sessions at a 3rd gym near our lodge in Carrabassett Valley. Anti Gravity Complex sessions are by appointment and can be scheduled anytime through our email email@example.com .
If anyone had asked me what I wanted to do with my life this would have to be the answer. It is so amazing seeing people try climbing and love it. That feeling of freedom and sense of accomplishment on their face is exactly how I feel each time I climb. Being able to bring other people to adventure really feels like what I am meant to do and I am truly grateful for the opportunity every day.
Climbing isn’t our only program though. We have sailing in the summer, biking, snowshoeing, skiing and a host of other programs in the works. We also have a 25-bed lodge for people to stay and do any of the activities we offer. So check out the website and if you or someone you know might want to try something definitely email us.
That about catches things up for now. Remember when you try things happen so keep on trying and making it happen!