August 24-26: Mt. Baker!

Tear in outside pocket of Osprey pack

Thanks to a wonderful grant from the American Alpine Club through their “Live Your Dreams” program, I’m heading to Mt. Baker in 3 weeks.

A few hours North of Seattle, Mt. Baker is 10,778 ft, and the trailhead starts around 2500′, making the summit an elevation gain of about 8200′. Despite the trail being considered “easier” than Mt. Rainier, because it’s longer it can be considered more difficult.

Conditions in the North Cascade ranges have been hot this year, just like the rest of the country. Our Saturday start day will be slushy for sure. Hopefully temperatures will drop enough at night to freeze the snow for our crampons to grip. My concern is the trail becoming just icy enough to be dangerous, but not solid enough for crampons. We can only see when we get there.

My two good pals from the Seattle area make up the climbing team, along with a few of their friends. There will be 5-8 of us in all.

As my brother’s 44th birthday came & went yesterday, it was huge for me to have this climb to look forward to this year. I can’t thank the AAC enough for offering me the grant. If it wasn’t for their generosity, I wouldn’t be climbing at all this year, and would lose much more momentum on the project.

Part of accepting the grant requires writing up the trip to be published in the AAC archives. Knowing that this climb will contribute to the American mountaineering community is really an honor.  I hope it will inspire more women outdoor enthusiasts to take up their packs, and take up the challenge of mountaineering.

Swallow Cliff

Swallow Cliff in Palos Height, IL continues to be my training ground. I found a very steep section to the East side of the stairs where the dirt retains some moisture under the thick tree foliage. Using my newly re-found Keen sandals (finally returned from the mystery package meant for my pal in Mt. Vernon that got sent back to Nome, AK and only re-sent to me a month ago), the slop in the sandal and the mush of the earth seem similar to conditions on Mt. Baker. At least that’s my hope.

My pack weight is at 46 lbs, and after another two hikes, I’ll take it up to a complete 50 lbs for my remaining training hikes. Friday’s hike left my shoulders feeling wrecked early on, so with some adjustments to the shoulder straps, I hope to do better on the next one.

I’ve lost a lot of weight from the Master Cleanse Fiasco this year, so the hipbelt seems like it’s almost maxing out. After measuring myself, though, I fall within the range according to the Osprey backpack website.  Since it takes approximately 2 weeks to receive replacements from Osprey, I won’t chance it. After Mt. Baker is over, I’ll see about getting a swap.

Same thing with the tear in the outside pocket I discovered when preparing my pack for training (check out the photo on this post, with water stain from an exploding bottle on my last hike). It must have happened someplace in Alaska. Osprey guarantees their packs for a lifetime, which is great! I can return it to them for free repairs when the climb is completed.

This climb’s for you Mickey! You will always be missed…

Posted in Peaks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

6 Responses to August 24-26: Mt. Baker!

  1. Jane Musgrave says:

    Congratulations on the grant! Your journey is inspiring. I am glad that you will get to climb this year. Can’t wait to see the photos 🙂

    • marissa says:

      Thanks so much, Jane! Appreciate you stopping by.

      Your journey with the yoga studio is equally inspiring! Can’t wait til you get it up & running – please keep me posted!


  2. Peter says:

    Good luck on Baker, Marissa! I’ll be in SF that weekend but drop me a note when you are in Seattle area.

    • marissa says:

      You betcha, Pete! Chicago is calling you, btw… it’s tired of leaving you messages. It told me you ought to check your voicemail more often & not blow it off. Chicago says it was a little offended that you’ve stayed away so long seeing as it showed you such a good time last visit. “Just sayin’…”, Chicago said. 😉

  3. John a/k/a Dad says:

    Read the exciting news about the climb. Wow, go for it, but as a loving and caring Dad I will use the word restraint. Keep me posted how this all came about love Dad

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