Every adventurer knows the soul crushing feeling of having to turn around before the summit. It’s a heartbreaking yet necessary call when there is just no way to continue safely. The story of my 2012 attempt on Rainier, my first glacier climb and my first true peak, was a huge learning experience. After dreaming of climbing big peaks and having that incredible opportunity, I made it within 500 ft before a storm pushed us back. It was a devastating call but it was a trip I feel defined me as a climber. This is exactly what I wanted to so, despite the suffering. That disappointment is what drew me into moving out to the northwest. Not only did I want a second chance at Rainier, but I wanted to be an alpinist and I was willing to make any sacrifices possible to ensure that it would happen.
I’m proud to say I’m launching a project that will finally achieve all my ambitions.
This summer I’m conducting one of the biggest climbing projects that I’ve ever undertaken. I plan to climb four peaks: Hood, Rainier, Forbidden Peak, and Whitney. In doing so, I plan to summit three state high points, and Forbidden Peak, the climb that we were forced to abandon last summer. My goals are twofold: the first is to return to Rainier and complete those final 500 feet, and the second is to prove myself as a true alpine climber, not only in theory, but in practice as well.
I plan to be undertaking this project under the guidance of Kaf Adventures, a Seattle based guiding service that focuses on education and climber development to reach overall goals. We first started talking at last years GearUp Expo and I was immediately attracted to the educational aspect that would develop my skills in order to undertake climbing projects on my own. Last summer I did my first trad leads under their watch and this past January I learned to use ice tools climbing over mixed rock. When I dreamed up this project, I knew that I wanted it to be under the right people, and careful planning has brought us to this point.
The first three climbs I’ll be doing this year will be under the guiding service while Mt. Whitney will be undertaken with a group of friends. The styles will range from glacier, angled ice climbing, and alpine rock, encompassing in a single year the characteristic techniques in the high peaks.
This is a dream come true for me and ultimately one of righting a disappointment, realizing a long wanted ambition, and living out a true adventure. I can’t wait to get started.