Monday, August 9, 2010

Where does the summer go??

Wow. One or two trips, a personal climb, another three trips, and all of a sudden it's three weeks later. Summer is too short, or perhaps too long, given how much I try to pack into it. Three months is a long time to be chronically sleep-deprived...

The Cascades got a ridiculous amount of snow this winter and spring, so all of the glaciers and snow slopes are still in excellent shape. This means that crevasses and ice that would normally make routes longer (having to go around them) or more technical (it's harder to climb a given angle of ice than of snow) are still covered in snow. It makes our guiding days a little shorter and a little easier; right now we have conditions that are more typical of late June/early July than of August. It's nice.

I got to climb the Kautz route (new for me) on Mt Rainer for Alpine Ascents, do a couple more laps on the Disappointment Cleaver, the standard route, and take some climbers up Mt Baker. In between, with some of that precious time off, Dave and I took a day to climb the south face of the North Twin Sister, close by Bellingham. It's a fun, relatively easy climb in a beautiful setting, and we didn't see anyone else the entire day. Perfect weather, beautiful climb, easy climbing partner - these things all help recover mentally from so much taking care of other people while guiding. Nice.

Also crammed into these three weeks was the RAMROD, Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day, a 150-mile, 10,000' elevation gain road ride organized by a local cycling club. I remember hearing about this early in my Washington life, and thinking that this was something for people with an entirely different idea of fun than I. How was it? Fantastic. Apparently climbing is good cross-training for cycling. Tiring, yes, but I wasn't dying to get off the bike by the end, and the route goes through some really beautiful areas, both in and out of the national park. The best part? I started up a Rainier climb the next day with little more than tired muscles. Ha!

So that's a glimpse of summer in the Cascades. So much to do. Such limited time in the sunshine. It's a good thing it starts to rain again sometime in September/October, or we wouldn't be able to keep up with our bodies! Sleep is good...

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