Friday, February 12, 2010

Before or after Alaska...?

Shortly after I rolled out of bed this morning, I was having my coffee in the living room, chilling out like I normally do... and I headed to to see if I could find more mountains to climb. Duh... Shasta. And although it's sort of been in the periphery of my brain for a while as something I'd dearly love to climb, it never really struck me that I *could* do a 1-3 day training seminar on it with Shasta Mountain Guides in advance of my RMI expedition to Alaska. What a brilliant idea! (And not terribly expensive, either.)

The beauty of mountains like this sometime beggars belief for me. I was cruising through the site, and the majesty of the mountains just takes one's breath away. In Shasta's case, it's conveniently A) the second-tallest peak in the lower 48... yay! and B) is  within driving distance for me, so it doesn't seem like it would be that big a deal to spend a day or two training on the mountain in advance of May. It would also C) give me a jumpstart on the skills I need for success and safety in Alaska instead of just going in ice-cold (if you'll pardon the expression), AND it would D) scratch this mammoth itch I'm having right now just knowing I have to wait another three months to get out and practice on a seriously big mountain. ARRGH! In some way, a shorty trip to Shasta would also make up for the anxious excitement and subsequent disappointment I had when I found out all the spots for my originally-planned Rainier trip were booked up so quickly.

I mean... LOOK AT THIS!
Anyway, that's TBD. In the meantime, I'm reallllllly looking forward to Mt. Olympia and the North Peak side of Mount Diablo tomorrow. Greg and I are gonna go climb it starting bright and early, and I'm stoked to get out into the open again, big mountain or not.

And after last week's performance in the cliffs on Mission Peak, I'm feeling pretty confident about my ability to carry a heavy pack fairly quickly, and I feel like I'm ready to move up the weight in my First Ascent Big Tahoma pack a bit. Maybe 45-50 lbs and see where that gets me...? I don't wanna go TOO heavy this time around because although this will be another steep climb with reasonable vertical gain / loss, it'll take place over twice the distance as last week, so it's more of an endurance exercise with the weight.

This is a climb I've never done. (There are a lot of those around here, since it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot within easy striking distance that's very challenging in both length and steepness... but whaddayagonnado...) So I'm looking forward to getting onto a new mountain this weekend. There's apparently some very steep loose rock scrambling on the last pitch to the North Peak summit, so I'm kinda drooling over that for the moment and looking forward to seeing how I perform overall.

... I'll just have to see how much heavy crap I can find lying around my garage to stuff in my pack to take up there HAHAHA. I'll be taking a couple of other FA pieces as well, just in case of inclement weather or cold winds at the ~3,600-foot summit. Might even pack a pair of gloves, as I was kinda wishing for them on the descent of Mission Peak last weekend. More to come on this one...

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