So I started writing this blog post and then I forgot about it… oops! A few of my housemates and I climbed Mt. St. Helen’s last Sunday and lived to tell the tale.. barely. Factor in a mini-avalanche, non-waterproof hiking boots and forgotten sunglasses plus 8,365 feet of volcano.. you’ve got a pretty good story.
My housemate Sean’s supervisor Bridget bought my housemates and I all climbing permits back in February for the climb and five of us were able to do the climb last weekend. Perhaps I should have prepared more as the lasting gift I received from my climb was a significant sunburn and what is called snow blindness. Over an 11 hour hike, we summited the volcano and have all recovered greatly. The hike started quite slowly and evenly, with snow present on the trail from the beginning. We rented snowshoes and some of us attempted to use them but for the most part, we were able to climb in others’ footsteps with a combination of some rock climbing.
If anything, I learned that I might not be a professional mountain climber. Is that even a profession? It should be. The quiet and peaceful nature of that climb was nearly overwhelming; only 100 people are permitted to climb each day. I was hurting as we neared the top and kept thinking we were nearer to the summit than we were. I think at one point, Elena and I both said that if the next ridge wasn’t the summit, we were gonna sit ourselves down and the rest of the crew could come back and get us on their way down. But we pulled ourselves together and all made it to the top.
It was an incredible view above the clouds. We were able to see Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood so clearly and sat right on the ridge of the crater at 8,365 feet; not something I necessarily ever thought I would do in my life. We glissaded down the mountain, which was incredibly terrifying and thrilling and a fantastic form of travel. We literally just slid down Mt. St. Helen’s on our butts, channeling a Jamaican bobsled team.. without the bobsled. While sliding, we miiiiight have caused a mini-avalanche that flipped me on my stomach and I had no way of stopping myself. I attempted to use my fourth-grade survival book skills to get out of an avalanche, to no avail and just had to ride it out. Never have I ever been in an avalanche? Cross that one of the bucket list…
It was a fantastic day in retrospect, but I did indeed suffer some bad sunburn and sunburnt eyes along with two of my housemates. Never fear, I have recovered and am once more able to blog, drive, be in sunlight and generally live. Because of my sunburnt eyes, I was unable to take a lot of pictures so these will suffice for now. Off to climb Mt. Hood.. seeya!