Mount adams south climb
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Elena (henceforth TrailCutter) and I met on a dreary Pi day just a few months prior to this climb. We moved fast from a slice of dessert to a day hike, a summit of Mount Elenor, and then a whirlwind trip up Mount Hood’s pearly gates. Honestly, the 1 month or so it took us to sleep in a car together and climb an 11,000 ft volcano way too early in the morning felt like a whirlwind. I think a couple of times along the way I forgot we were still in the infancy of the dating process.
After Mount Hood TrailCutter told me she wanted to climb all of Washington’s active volcanoes in a year. It seemed ambitious, but I wanted to help her take on the challenge. So, I started watching the weather like a hawk. Any chance or excuse to hang out with the lady of your dreams, right? One weekend I saw the perfect, very small, weather window on Mount Adams so I suggested we take the chance and head for the summit to get the train rolling on her goal. The road up to Mount Adams’ south climb trailhead was still snow-covered until several miles before the actual Mount Adams’ south climb trail, but we both felt like it was too good to pass up.
We woke up the next morning and did our best impression of motivated humans making a groggy run at the top of an inconsequential pile of snow (you know, a summit bid). The first few miles sucked. It was colder than hell, the road walk defined the word boring and both of us were a bit grumpy from living in a vehicle for two days. Nonetheless, we pressed on and made it to the actual trailhead in about an hour or two.
From Mount Adams’ south climb trailhead, we made quick progress using old skin tracks and a few snowshoe tracks as our guides through the woods. By the time the sun came up, we were approaching the lunch counter with some spectacular views of sunrise and a little pep back in our step from feeling warmed up. We did take a brief break at the lunch counter for photos, but also knew that our weather window would close if we took too long and tried to move with a bit of haste.
From the lunch counter, the climb got rough. I usually handle altitude pretty well, but for some reason on this day about halfway up Pikers peak I started to feel a weird pain in my stomach. I wasn’t worried. I have had altitude sickness before and I was fine, so I pressed on. But it only got worse. By the time we were nearing the top I was oscillating between feeling sick, feeling like vomit was going to come out of me, burping, feeling better, and then repeating the process. TrailCutter wasn’t sick but she kept telling me she was feeling more worn out than she should be and was starting to drag. Honestly, both of us were becoming a mess. I was on my (8th date?) with the woman of my dreams and trying my best not to belch vomit every time I took 4 steps. Superb.
I can’t speak for TrailCutter, but for me, the summit of Mount Adams is where it happened. I didn’t know it at the time. I wasn’t screaming it to the heavens or drooling on her shoulder like a puppy. In fact, it took me a while to parse out the feeling which made me struggle to write this post. After all, I do not want to write some dry dribble just to put up a new page. This site is about my journey past drug addiction, through mental health struggles, and through this tragic adventure we call life. It should never be some boring regurgitation of my step count. Just like mountains, this site is all about the journey.
I was struggling to write this so many times over the past 8 months. I tried but I couldn’t make it more than some boring version of “we walked up a hill”. Until I was sitting in a hotel room alone after a trade show for work. Then it hit me. This summit is where this wonderful lady stole my heart. Not some Romeo and Juliet I’ll die for you love story. But real honest comfortable “I might belch vomit in front of you while we climb this peak but we are doing it anyway for your goal” kind of story. Yea, the summit of Mount Adams’ is where I fell in love with TrailCutter.
I have been in many relationships in my life. Hell, I was married once. But for this first time, this feels comfortable. Like a warm blanket and hot cider on a snowy day kind of comfortable. For the first time in my life, I feel happy, laid back, and comfortable love with another human being. The funny thing is, now I am too scared to say it out loud because I might make her run away. So yea, Mount Adams is the toughest Volcano here in Washington. It will challenge you mentally, physically, and at least in my case emotionally.
Apparently, that little tiny summit was destined to change my life twice. It was the first Bulger peak I soloed, and now, it is the place I fell head over heels in love with my dream woman, TrailCutter. A type-2-fun addict who doesn’t mind sleeping in a car just to take a shot at standing on a pile of rocks so she can say she did. Now I just need the courage to say “I love you” to her face. That is a summit I don’t know how to climb yet. So instead I just keep a picture she took of our feet in the back of her car saved on my phone for when my day gets tough so I can smile.
That’s love ladies and gentlemen. Boredom-inspired foot pictures in the rain and near-belch vomiting on your way to a summit in front of your dream woman. All those fairy tales have it wrong…