This one will be short, I swear.
I had fun on this trip. Parts of the climb were hard work. I learned a lot. I don't think I am too far behind anyone else in the class in the "how does one mountain climb?" department, even though some people started way in front of me. The air up there is beautiful. Other than the wind, the atmosphere is silent; the snow eats up almost all the sound.
The sad part is, I can't keep up. In 1½ weeks, the group is making a day trip to Camp Muir, which is the high camp from which many people make their ascent of Mount Rainier. Camp Muir is about 10200 feet up. The trailhead is 5400 feet up. That is 4800 feet of climbing, or nearly a mile. One week after that is the Mount Adams climb. That is 12300 feet, although we will do that in two days.
I can go at about 90% of the speed that the rest of the group can. I am not in completely horrible shape. However, that will stretch out a summit climb from 5 to 6 hours and the climb to base camp from 7 to 8 hours. Easily. It would hold the group up and make could make the trips more dangerous.
With my schedule, I can't put in the hours it would take to improve my cardio enough in the next three weeks. I am going to have to drop the class. I knew it was a gamble when I took it. As I said, this is the first thing I've done in years that I was not 100% certain I could actually do. I can't. Not right now.
I don't really feel bad about this. I gave it a pretty good shot. And I don't feel like I am giving up either. Normally, I persevere with something well past the point that it's bad for me. I finish, but I pay a price.
So here's my plan. I plan on taking relatively difficult hikes over the rest of the summer and into the fall. One of the best ways to train for climbing to to climb. Over the rest of the summer, I should be able to improve my stamina enough that I can do the class next year.
Anyone who wants to join me on a few days hikes and possibly an over night campout or two, let me know. Otherwise, I shall bring along a couple of good books and read in the mountain air.
Well, this entry was shorter than the others in this series.