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Someone once told me a "motivational quote" that goes like this
"Work hard, Keep your head in the game and if someone gets in your way... Tell them you don't give a DAMN"
Well that had to get me through this hike.
I had been planning on doing Mount St. Helen's on Sunday but the weather effected that plan and we decided against becoming charcoal. Our next idea was Camp Muir at the 10,000 foot level on Mount Rainer. When looking at the Crevasses on the mountain we said no. The counter option was 3 main peaks just off of Chinook Pass. A few weren't name but what I could pick up, they were Naches Peak, Tahtlum Peak and the last one being an unnamed peak that apparently has only been climbed about 3 times and with good reason. We arrived at Chinook Pass at about 11:30 AM. It was an absolute beautiful day for a hike and there was surely snow in the hills. Me being me, I have never used an Ice Axe before but I would learn how to real fast!We began through all that snow. Even at 5,430 feet there is still a ton of snow and yet, we didn't have to use Crampons but surely the ice axe. If you've never used one, the process is actually very simple. Using it as almost a trekking pole while walking against a mountain side you dig the spike in while holding the top of it(which includes the pick and Adze)(Pick pointed backwards) and kick step (make your self steps in the ice) along your way. Believe it or not, the kick stepping was a lot of fun. Sketchy at times but fun in general.At this point, we had realized that we had forgot one very important thing... We forgot sunscreen. Thankfully, we met 3 skiers who lucky had some sunscreen and shared it liberally with us even though we were already burning on the bright snow. After talking with the skiers and finding that they had been in that back area about 80 time in the past 30 years or so, we headed off on our hike. We began to gain elevation again which was a problem because we found our self's summiting a smaller peak. In all attempts to find a Glissading route down, we ended up having to rock climb down. In Climbing down rocks and such we came to a very strak realization.. We had to go up a huge mountain and the ridge we were to have used wouldn't allow us to go to our original destination. The only thing that made sense was find the least sketchiest route and then the upward slog begin. Through the snow which I equated it to the last slog of Mount St. Helen's, with out the sand. I myself got about half way up and began to have problems. The vertical climb was getting to me and that normal for anyone really. The last 300 to 400 feet are the hardest because of the fact that it is so close and so far away. I had to take a break and kept fighting with myself if I could do it or not. Then, with hearing that the other 2 in my hiking party had been just at the summit and I lit some serious fire under my ass to get to the top. The surrounding view was awesome. Being able to look back and see Mount Rainer in full glory was a sight to behold. We only stayed briefly because of the on set of the clouds. We took the low route across the valley below us to try and save some time by Glissading. We only had a few upwards climb this time but thankfully, we only had one or two. We finally got back to truck.
All and all, I may have been a bit sadden by not climbing Mount St. Helen's but at the same time, I was introduced to many new level Mountaineering skills that I can hopefully use more often than not.
As for Tahtlum peak, well, she tried to shake me but in no way did I give up. If you're up for a good trail finding way and are willing to kick your self all the way to the top than this one is for you in full.
Hope all of you enjoyed this post as always
Keep Calm and Climb on
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