“If One Could Forget The Mountain . . .”

17 August 1870 – a climbing party makes the first ascent of Mount Rainier, and one hundred and seven years later, I succeeded in reaching the summit. My sons tease me about how anyone can just “walk up Rainier,” but it is a dangerous mountain, and many people have died on its slopes. Our expedition climbed to the peak without incident, but during our descent, one member made an unwise jump from a three-foot snow shelf, his crampons caught in the ice, and his forward momentum was sufficient to break one of his ankles. As we were slowly hauling him down the mountain on a makeshift sled we had rigged together from our backpacks to a place where a helicopter could land and evacuate him, avalanches rumbled down the rock faces on our flanks. Suddenly, the lead man on my rope tumbled into a crevasse, and our group spent many anxious moments struggling to lift him out of the abyss.
I’m glad that I climbed Mount Rainier, and I sometimes entertain fugitive thoughts about trying to do so again, but I would rather make a ten-day hike along the trail that circles the mountain at its base than risk physical injury on its heights. My climbing days are over.
And then I look at a photograph of this lovely mountain and think, “Maybe.”

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One Response to “If One Could Forget The Mountain . . .”

  1. Steidle says:

    Don’t mean to cramp on your style, Dr. Danger, but did you really climb the mountain in the year 2047? Truth is, I’m inclined to say this actually must be a remarkable example of your clairvoyance… Maybe?

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