We did it! We officially summited Mt. St. Helens! Ever since climbing Mt. Adams last summer, St. Helens has been on my mind. One of the cool things about the mountain is that we were able to have a mountaineering experience without the danger of glacial crossing. The fact that the snow hadn’t melted off yet was also a blessing! In fact, we actually got to climb the winter route! The snow was nice because not only did we avoid ash and scree, but we also got to glissade down half the mountain! Cole was pretty thankful for that. He was also thankful that I had mac and cheese, brownies, and Arizona Iced Tea at the bottom!
While climbing the mountain, I was thinking a lot about patience in pursuit. It’s not really a phrase that I’ve thought about before or even heard, but those three words kept coming to mind. Patience in pursuit. As I mentioned, I’ve been anticipating Mount St. Helens for about a year. The first part of the pursuit was convincing some friends to come along with me. Back around January, I was able to get Cole and Will to commit. Permits went on sale in February, and we were able to get a date in June. Within the next few weeks of excitement, I put together a trip guide and did some research on routes and gear. Over the course of the next few months, I made sure to stay in shape and avoid injury and sickness. A few weeks ago I started getting my gear together and had a conference call with Will and Cole to make sure we were all on the same page with everything. About a week before the climb, I basically kept my fingers crossed that the weather was going to be alright. Since they only allow 100 climbers per day on the mountain, bad weather would have meant waiting an entire year until we could buy another permit. Last Monday we drove up to the base of the mountain, got some sleep, and woke up at 4am to start our ascent. After a year of patience, we were finally starting our trek! I was so excited that I probably only slept about an hour the night before. As we started up the mountain, it soon became apparent that our climb was going to take a whole lot of patience as well. It was in fact 8 hours of patience that brought us to the summit. The portion near the top was so steep that we could only do about 30-40 steps at a time before needing a short rest. 30 steps … rest … 30 steps … rest … 30 steps … rest … fast forward 2 hours … wait this is only the false summit???!!?!! … 30 steps … rest … you get the point. BUT WE MADE IT!! And it was INCREDIBLE! Perfect climb. Perfect weather. Perfect trip. Patience in pursuit!
I’ve realized that most of my pursuits these days are years in the making. Sure it would be easy to choose goals that are weeks or months out, but I think the most important things in life are more like climbing mountains. If you want to reach a summit, you have to be ridiculously patient sometimes. We live in a world that is pushing more and more for instant gratification … and I would say this also means that we’re pushing more and more for things that don’t matter. If we want to create meaning in life, we need to take things 30 steps at a time. Before we know it we’ll be reaching summits! And not just summits of hills! We’ll be climbing mountains!