Monday, May 17, 2010

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger - Muir 5/15/2010

With our Mt. Rainier's climb attempt possibly only 6 weeks away, we headed to Camp Muir to check what condition we're in.

We started from Paradise under sunny sky and very thankful for bringing T-shirts. It was balmy 60 degrees there and the sun reflecting of the snow made it feel even warmer.

The first challenge came after about 1/2 hour of hiking when we found ourselves facing the steep slope leading to Panorama Point. Step after step we started to climb up. My legs were little sore on Friday after my interval training and I was very sure I will feel some pain on this part of the trail. To my surprise the pain never came and once I stood atop Panorama Point enjoying the views, I actually felt pretty good.

From there the trail led steadily uphill but on much gentler grade. There was a good crowd heading to the same destination today. Hikers, mountaineers, skiers, snowboarders. People of all ages, from kids to a 88 year old lady, wanted to enjoy the gorgeous day here on the mountain. And with so many people ahead of us, the steps were kicked in solid which made our ascend much easier.

My next challenge came at 9000 feet. I've been kind of slacking lately, doing more leisurely hikes, not really running yet this year.... so I expected to feel the curse of the 9000 ft this time to its full extend. Yet my personal death zone did not kick in this time. I continued in a slower but pretty steady pace to about 9600. That's where I developed dry throat and every breath I took was kind of choking me. It was not only annoying but it instantly drew all my energy.

The last 400 feet were never-ending. I was not making much progress. I was not even able to get from one flag marking the route to the other without stopping. With few members of our team who needed to be back in Seattle for their evening commitment, we were also running out of time. The camp was just above me now. The idea of having to turn so close to the destination made me push through the last 100 feet or so. I have to admit, I was rather exhausted when I reached the camp though and I had no desire to make another step up. I definitely have some serious training ahead of me if I want to stand a chance to stand atop of the mountain in six weeks.

Better go get started!