Back from Shasta

Phew! What an experience. Pain and pleasure at their best and worst. Mountaineering is surely no walk in the park – while that shouldn’t come as a surprise, you don’t realize how intensely grueling it can be until you’ve gone on a difficult climb.

I didn’t summit. I topped out at 13,200 ft, about 900 ft from the summit. I’m proud though of where I reached. The climb was intense, as pointed out by our guide who said it was one of his toughest Shasta climbs (and he has summitted dozens of times). Deep snow, bad weather, dehydration, my bad stomach, and over 5000 ft to be ascended on summit day – considering all this, I am content that I reached that altitude. 
Pics from my climb: http://picasaweb.google.com/vinthanedar/MtShastaClimb
This has certainly given me immense confidence prior to my Rainier climb coming up in July.
(that’s not a mustache btw, it’s my helmet strap)

Prelude to Shasta

My first major mountaineering experience is coming up this weekend. I will be climbing Mt. Shasta, a 14er (14, 179 ft or 4322m) peak in Northern California. It will be a 3 day climb, complete with full mountain gear, crampons, ice axe, and a 2 am alpine start on summit day! Summit day is expected to be 14-16 hours of sustained effort. En route on day 2, there will be some training on the use of crampons, ice axe, self-arrest and such.
I’m psyched. I’ve been dreaming of such an experience for a while now. 
I hope I have a fun trip, summit, and return down safe and sound.