Ice Picks and Summits

It is that feeling of when you hip hits the rock ice. It is that feeling of using a darth vader head lamp at 5 am because you forgot the fully functioning legit head lamp. And, it’s thst feeling of trying to skin up a solid piece of ice and falling. 

“I just can’t do this,” I said to Duncan. Duncan responds, “you are barely behind.” The boys I am with are patches of color in the distance. I am just not as fast. I am never not as fast. Eric tells me “It’s not about keeping up. It’s about doing the climb.”

Recently, as the adventures have started to become longer and more technical, I find myself behind the group. Mount Engineer is one of the most challenging summer hikes I have done. It’s rocky mountain top is only  a few feet below a 13,000 feet mountain. But, I think people get too fixated on elevation. I have done 14,ooo feet mountain climbs, the exposure and length of the hike sets Engineer apart. At one point, in the hike there is a ledge that you have to use an ice axe to move over. It has a drop off that is a no fall zone.

We had planned to go to Engineer because the weather advised extremely low avalanche conditions. Let me tell you, this snow had no intention of sliding. The snow was ice.  After all that work, we had to slide on our butts down rock soild ice. The sun never softened up the snow. While the forecast suggested it would warm and soften, the breeze turned to winds and the clouds hugged the mountain.

So, the final question, “was it worth it?” The snow was terrible. I fell behind. I fell more times i care to admit. Yes, a hundred times, yes. My body is never as content as when my legs and arms feel like jello. I am never as content as when I am so exhausted I sprawl myself on the patio with a big fat pepper burger the sun warming up my sore muscles. 

It’s that feeling of pure content that is only attainable by completing a hard task. It is always worth it.

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2 thoughts on “Ice Picks and Summits

    1. I will definitely be back, hopefully it won’t be combat skiing on round 2. When we were sliding the east face, you could see turns from previous skiers that looked too good to skip out on.

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