Program Updates

“Success is More than a Summit” Mount Adams Climbs, June 2019

By in Program Updates

On June 7,8, and 9 and June 14, 15, and 16, our Seattle and Tacoma mountaineering teams attempted their first mountain climb of the year up 12,280’ Mount Adams. Each team member had to train rigorously for this climb and had to attend 100% of the training in order to qualify for a spot on the climb.  Training hikes included Tiger Cable Line, Mount Si, Mailbox Peak, and Camp Muir, all of which are difficult hikes that require prior conditioning. Participants had to attend a day of snow school as well.

The Mount Adams trip for each team was split up into three days. Day One: Travel & Gear Check; Day Two: Approach and Camp; Day Three: Summit Attempt, Decent, and Travel Home.

DAY 1: Preparing for the Climb + Dinner Tradition

Each team set out on a Friday morning to spend the night at “Camp Jonah”, an old high school converted into a Christian camp, in Trout Lake, Washington. After a quick lunch stop in Hood River, the teams arrived at the camp by mid-afternoon to practice working with their gear, dividing up team equipment, and properly packing each pack.

A Recovery Beyond tradition before every climb is to bring the entire team together for a special dinner. In this case, both teams enjoyed a meal at Trout Lake Country Inn. This dinner is an opportunity for all to reflect on the great accomplishments achieved so far in each person’s recovery, the hard work that went into training for the climb, and the relationships that were formed along the way. Each participant also discussed how climbing Mount Adams fits into their own recovery journey.

There were many positive recovery-focused and healing sentiments shared by each person at the table. One participant from our Seattle team mentioned that being part of Recovery Beyond has been one of the most helpful things in her recovery. This organization has given her renewed self-confidence and healing, both through new physical strength, allowing her the ability to do things she couldn’t do before, and through being accepted by the community of Recovery Beyond.

 

DAY 2: Up to Lunch Counter

The following morning, each team left Camp Jonah and drove to the Cold Spring Campground and trailhead for the Mount Adams south climbing route (5,600’), the route that each team would take. The approach this day was all about method. Everyone climbed to the next campsite at 9,300’ with loaded packs while also taking extra “fueling” breaks.

After about 6 hours of hiking, the teams arrived at their overnight camping destination on a natural mountain shelf called “Lunch Counter”. Here they set-up and shoveled out a proper snow tent platform, a kitchen area, and designated bathroom area. Camp setup took most of the rest of the afternoon, Dinner followed and then the climbers were able to get some much-needed rest for the summit push the next morning.

One thing that was noted by most of the newer climbers that evening, while eating dinner, was how beautiful the camp area was. They stated that it may be one of the most spectacular places they have ever camped.

DAY 3: The Summit Push – 12,280’

Early the next morning at around 2 AM, the climbers awoke, ate hot oatmeal, finalized the last prep of their packs, and put their crampons on to begin the summit push. The goal was to leave camp by 3 AM. Shortly after everyone was ready to go, headlamps were turned on and the climbers ventured out into the cold, dark night with one goal in mind: to climb Mount Adams.

When mountaineering, the goal is to, of course, leave very early, but to also push for about 1,000’ of elevation gain per hour, take a short break, and then repeat until the summit is reached or it becomes too hazardous to continue.

This was the strategy that Recovery Beyond climbers adopted for this climb. They knew they had 3,000 feet to climb from Lunch Counter to the summit, so there would be three stretches to get to the top.

The outcome? Each participant from both the Seattle and Tacoma team got to their own personal high point; some higher than they thought they could go, others reaching the summit. Each climber was filled with pride and satisfaction for what they had accomplished.

By mid-morning, they arrived back to camp, rested for 30-40 minutes in their tents, then packed up camp. The Tacoma team enjoyed a nice glissade down (sliding down the snow on your bottom!) while the Seattle team got to further practice their route finding on their way down. Each team made it back safe and sound, having built deeper relationships with themselves, each other, and a higher power.

What was next on the docket? Cheeseburgers. With all those calories burned mountaineering, our teams were in dire need of something delicious to consume! So off they went.

The Result

Perseverance, team-work, and extensive training and conditioning led to successful climbs for all. At the end of the day, it’s never about the summit. It’s about the journey, sobriety, new relationships, new experiences, and the idea of achieving something that has required extensive dedication. We are proud of the accomplishments of all our climbers. Everyone met their own new “high” and that is amazing.

Climbing Mount Adams, whether getting part of the way up or summiting, is quite a feat. There is nothing like the beauty of the mountainside to make one’s soul sing and the sweat and burning muscles of a climb to realize what we are physically capable of when we truly push ourselves.

Our climbing teams will be climbing Mount Baker next week (July 17-20) and we couldn’t be more proud, supportive, and encouraging of their next great move. Stay tuned to hear all about this climb. We wish them good luck (they’ve got this!) and great weather!

How You Can Help

Our community provides essential support to our climbers in different ways, such as mountaineer training for big climbs such as Mount Adams and Mount Baker. Will you support our program participants to ensure lasting recovery by making a small gift today? Most importantly, please keep their safety and long-term sobriety in your prayers. We each have our own mountain to climb, by working together, we’re all able to find our personal best. Thank you for your support.

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