Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Climbing

So, my friend Stefan and I wanted to do some climbing this summer. So, my friend Stefan and i were like, okay, we just have to figure out when we can go and do some major climbs. So, after a while, we decided that we would climb Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. When we consulted our parents however, they were not so encouraging. Our moms really didn't like the idea of letting us go and climb without any one else. Anyway, Stefan's mom decided that to prove ourselves, that we needed to go climbing at Lovers Leap at least once so that we could get more multi-pitch climbing under our belts. So, that is what we did. For me, it was crazy, because I had never done any mulit-pitch or trad climbing before, so, in a way, I was glad that we went to Lovers Leap to practice. The climb was fun, that is for sure. It took us a lot longer than we thought it should've.

So, the next week, we embarked on our adventure. We drove up to Tahoe, and started down 395, down the Eastern Sierras, which were so amazing!! It is amazing that people can look at Mountains like those, and not realize that God exists. Anyway, we drove down to Lone Pine, CA. We went to the Ranger Station to pick up our permit and bear canisters. We were in for a surprise there, however. One that most of you probably don't want to know about. In the Whitney area, they require that overnight backpackers carry human waste containers. Its kind of dumb if you ask me. So, Stefan and I had these bags that we had to carry, and we had to go to the bathroom in them. They had this odor cutting powder in them too, but it sure didn't help much. Anyway, that was kind of a drag, but we were there to climb, so we weren't too worried about it.

So, we hiked in that night, starting at about 8,300 ft at the Whitney Portal Store. We hiked for like maybe 4 hours, up to Upper Boyscout Lake. That was some hike, I mean, we thought that we'd be able to get to Iceburg Lake before dark, and we probably would have, but we decided to save some energy for the next day. So we got up the next day, and started hiking from Upper Boyscout Lake, to Iceburg Lake, and then, to the bottom of the climb. That hike was probably one of the hardest that Stefan and I have ever done. On the way there, we were complaining about how long the hike was; we just wanted to start climbing.

So the climb itself was really fun. It was pretty easy too. Stefan led the entire climb, but still, it wasn't too bad, even for him. It was around 10 pitches. It took us so long: 9 hours. This was partly because we stopped to eat and checked the guide book out quite a bit, to make sure that we stayed on route. We finally reached the top, and were trying to figure out how long it was going to take us to get down. Being on the top of that mountain, was so amazing. We were once again reminded of how big God really is.

We hiked back, in the dark; the moon was out, and we had our headlamps, but coming down the Mountaineers Route, in the dark, without ice axes and crampons, was very difficult. We got through it though, with God's help. We got back at about midnight and ate some bagels, and then went to bed. We got up the next morning, and while Stefan was still asleep, I attempted to call my parents, and Tara, because when we were on the top of the mountain, neither of our phones were working. So, I started praying that my phone would work that morning; I called both my parents, and Tara several times, and finally got through to Tara (who, is my amazing girlfriend, who I love so much, by the way.). I only got to talk to her for a few minutes though, before the connection went out again. So, after that, we hiked down the trail, and drove back to Sacramento. All in all, it was an awesome climb, and an amazing adventure. It took us 19 hours total; which was insane.

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