Thursday, May 22, 2008

Train, train, train!

Hopefully in about a month from now I'll be packing my backpack to head down to climb Rainier. In the mean time, there's just a lot of training to be done. Last night Mihae and I did the cable line of Tiger Mountain. Typically hiking trails have switchbacks as they work their way up the mountain. The cable line goes straight up the mountain. It's a common training hike for people who want to summit Rainier. Bram was hoping we'd make the hike in under an hour and 15 minutes to make sure were getting in good shape for our summit climb. Mihae and I made it in an hour so we were happy about that.

This weekend is going to be a good opportunity to get some training in. Rachel, CJ and I are currently investigating some possibilities for a more strenuous hike/climb. We had wanted to do Mt. Adams, but with the all the snow from this winter, the conditions aren't in our favor quite yet. I do really want to climb Adams at some point this year, even if it's after Rainier. We also considered Mt. St. Helen's for this weekend, but being Memorial day weekend and that climb having a limited number of permits it's not likely to work out. We'll probably head up Highway 2 somewhere as there are plenty of opportunities out that way.

As for my non-hiking conditioning I've been keeping up with my usual running, boxing fitness class and soccer during the week. I've been trying to add several sets of stairs with every run. I think overall strength building is going to be what I need to focus on now.

I'm definitely anxious for the actual climb to be here already. When I started planning this in January it felt like it was forever away so it's nice to know it's getting so close.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gear and Training

Good news! I now have all the gear I need for my trip up Rainier. I got my ice axe, harness, prussicks and caribiners, helmet, tent, sleeping pad, shovel, waterproof shell and a bunch of other stuff over the past week. I feel like I should own REI after all the money I've spent there over the past few months. I guess maybe I'll have a nice dividend check next year! Having the right gear definitely can make or break the overall experience and I feel pretty confident with the what I have now.

Our latest group training was this past weekend. We headed over to Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass Saturday evening and hiked up in the rain to our camping spot. The rain ended up making the camping not very pleasant since we were soaked by the time we got our tents up. My new shovel came in handy for digging out a flat spot in the snow for our tents. It's more to carry, but again, it's definitely nice to have.

In the middle of the night the rain turned to snow and this ended up causing the tent to almost cave in. I'm considering returning the tent for another style, though I like how light and compact it is.

Sunday was all about training. We worked on self arrest training which is very important to know in case we slip and start falling down the mountain. The training for this was pretty fun too because we got to do some glissading (basically sledding without a sled). Glissading was my favorite part of the Camp Muir hike I did last year and I'm looking forward to it again this year. We also did some training on our rope teams.

It may be a lofty goal, but some of us are considering climbing Mt. Adams over Memorial Day weekend. Though the climb's not technical, it's still pretty long and will get us up over the 12,000 foot level so we can see how we do with the altitude. Recent reports said getting to the trailhead was a 12 mile snowshoe trip. Hopefully the warm weather over the next few days will change that, otherwise we may have to consider climbing Adams another time.