|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This photo was taken July 17, 2009. It was a sad night for me, my dream of summiting turned down, and I felt so unfair, this trip ended up being perhaps my worst mountaineering experience of all times. Not that anything bad happend to anyone, the conditions were good, but it created a huge conflict between friends and the hiking community.|
Here is this trip:
The idea started up when Chris sent me an email saying "Wanna summit rainier Saturday?" My first thought was YESSSSSS! I did not know the guy, but that was irrelevant in my mind. I went to work for Mark's dad and as I was working I could not stop thinking about Rainier, after working we went to REI and I bought a harness from someone for 30$ which came with a case and a locking carribeaner, we also got more tubular webbing a daisy chain (personal anchor). At this point I pretty much had all that I need. I had conversations back and forth trying to find information about this guy. He seemed friendly and some what experienced and was in good shape. Mark took me to Mount Erie and showed me how to rock climb a few days before going. I dreamed about climbing before going to Mount Rainier, hardly do I dream at night. Sean, a friend of mine wanted me to go camping, I told him yes I want to go, and later changed my mind on Tuesday Night, he was a bit upset, but I told him I been wanting to climb Rainier for so long, this very well might be my last chance for the year. At first odds of the trip did not look good, but once Chris mentioned his friend Matt, it was a major turning point. Mark's dad could not come, and we could not get a ride to Tacoma so I had the idea of taking the bus, Mark almost couldn't make it, but we got really lucky, his mom finally agreed to take us both! On Thursday Morning we met Chris and Matt and stayed at there house while Chris had to take a test for a few hours, a nice view of Rainier he had. Once he was back, we put our stuff in the back and headed out. We went to a restrant and had a good sandwich, and after this they asked some questions about me so I started to think well I guess there sorta trying to make friends with me perhaps. As we were talking Matt later told me I talk a lot, which I thought well mabe talk a little less, but Mark later at Camp Muir told me that means "Shut Up" which I had no idea it meant that... I guess too much communication is a bad thing. As we were getting closer and closer I felt the excitment rush up to me, it almost felt like too much as I was looking at Rainier's South West Face. When we got to Paridise the place was crowded, so we had to park a little ways down the road.
We had to buy our climbing permits which were 30$ per person. After that we were set and started heading up, at first we had a nice slow pace. As we were heading up, I forgot an important part of hiking, always have in your pockets food so that you can eat while you hike, even though my food was easily accessible, time was precious. If I stopped to get a drink, I would have to run to catch up to my party. I eventually started feeling dizzy due to hunger and a bit tired, which wasn't good. I later said something because I didn't want to become to weak, but had to wait even longer to have a little time to eat. After that I said "I feel much better now" which later I would get thirsty and they wondered why I was a few mintutes behind which the same thing happend with water. This was among my biggest mistake of the trip. It doesn't seem like much, but to these climbers it was more than what I expected it to be. Going up felt like a slogg, it would be just step after step though the Muir snow field, and it felt like it would almost never end. After it started getting cooler, we later finally got to Camp Muir, and immediatly it started getting much colder, due to sun behind the ridge and us stopping. After putting on warm cloths Mark and me went to go set up Camp which was on the Cowlitz glacier which it felt odd that we didn't need to be roped up. After digging a big we set up our tent which I accedently brought my crummier tent, but fortunatly it wasn't very windy. My shoulders we tired from carrying 52 pounds up Camp Muir, but the rest of me felt great. I noticed how everyone seemed a bit tired, exept me. There's a great benifit to pacing yourself, but the climber leaders somehow don't understand that. They made dinner and boiled us some water and I offered them to borrow my radio and they declined my offer. The view up here was nice, and the evening cool started to kick in. Mark spilled some food in my tent, but that's ok, he offered some after that which made up for that. As I was getting more water Matt (the lead climber) said "I'm not comfortable with taking you up to the Summit" which this instantly had me very worried. He told me part of it was because of my age, another part of it because I was a little bit "slow" to Camp Muir although I was only a few mintutes away going up. He told me though that he would give me a chance and that perhaps the'll figure it out. He also told me that I am over my head and that I'm over positivly thinking... which I assume he thinks that because I said I felt fine when I got to Camp Muir. He said not to worry and the decission would be made in the morning. I went into the tent and I didn't sleep much that night, not because I was up on a Mountain, but because of what he said. It really worried me, I some how felt hurt from what he said. I felt a very unusual sadness as I went to bed, and eventually the only way I was able to go to bed was by thinking "everythings going to be alright" ... or atleast that's what I hoped. Unfortunatly they were not.
I woke up at about 1 a.m. and looked out side to see a bunch of climbers heading up with there head lamps, but Matt and Chris were not yet awake. I went back to sleep and woke up a 2 a.m. and saw that most the climbers were gone. I decided I have to wake them up if we want to succeed. I went over to our leaders tent and woke him and after a few mintutes he was awake. The first thing I remember him telling me was that "Josh, I don't think you should go..." which I was upset by this point, I did not show it, but was on the inside. Then he told Mark he could which frusterated me... the age thing back there was an excuse for me not to go! Mark is slightly younger than me, but he declined the offer because his mom told him if Josh had to turn around, so did he, but I almost wonder if he would have anyways or not. I asked "not even to Ingraham Flats?" and he said no, and they got there gear together. I stood and watched until the left. I was even tempted to beg them or even ask some other climbers if I could go with. I decided against it and later found out Mark was tempted to do the same. As I walk back to my tent I was crying intensly, it was so horribly frusterating to me. I was sooo close, so bloody close! And I layed on the cold icy ground and didn't care what happend to me, it was an undescribable emotion. There were some quotes that night that hurt me.
"I've read your reports and this latest load of crap about you disappearing will make me never want to hike with you.
I was glad to hear that OSAT kicked you out of the GCC. I've wanted to do the course for years now but due to either a bad work schedule or knee operations I've never been able to participate. You had an excellent opportunity and you threw it away. It looked as though your bravado about being on a glacier without proper gear led to ruining that chance for you.
Your antics remind me of a former poster here who bragged about his mis-adventures and appeared to relish in the negative attention, just like you appear to do."
This was a message from someone about one of my previous trips. The part especially Hurt me when it pretty much was saying how I threw my chance of Rainier up, and also another person told me:
"Josh, or whomever you are, youre ID is so poorly thought of on this site at this point Id suggest leaving and not returning! You seem to be clueless and not able to take direction or unable to understand it.
You are NOT well thought of here and frankly you scare people!"
-Someone from Nwhikers
And the fear kept rushing to me that I don't seem to belong anywhere, not the mountains, not home, not school.... no where. The fear of it some times keeps me up at night, especially this night. I also was sad because my friend did not summit because of me, and his dad would think poorly of me, and be judging of me for a long time. I stared up at the partcial moon with a great sense of fear. I was also worried for our climber friends because not only did they not take the radio, but were only roped up two people and the guy in the back doesn't even have crevasse rescue, if the leader fell in, they could die, because the other guy doesn't know what to do, and usually you would have 3-4 per team. If that happend we would be stuck up there worrying and without a ride home, we had no cell phone or contact, although perhaps the ranger we could ask. Also I felt bad because I betrayed my friend Sean, plus my family from home would be a little upset because they did not have anything exciting. I started to feel very cold and dehydrated from lying on the group crying. I felt so alone up there with just the moon and the mountain. As I looked up there were so many stars, it was as if I could look at them forever and not be able to count them all. I felt like mountaineering was a lost cause. "If I cannot have one, I must have non". The emotions lasted for a long time, I saw some climbers coming down which I waited for about an hour just to greet them. The sky started to have color and started to take on a blue look, but eventually I became tired sitting out in the cold and went in to go back to sleep.
When I woke up it was around 7 in the morning with what looked like bees flying around in the tent, at first I freaked out, but Mark told me they were wanna bees which basically are flys that look like bees, Mark even picked one up, gave it a squeeze and as he said it was harmless. Mark then started getting angry at me asking why did I communicate too much with them and how I should not have treated them as if they were friends. He in a way told me I was a bad climber, which hurt my feeling even more. I started laughing because the situation was rediculous, they took off and we were low on water. I was so thirsty that if I cried. I wouldn't have enough water. Mark got even angrier with me and soon a left a great deal of apathy, I became dizzy because of all the mix of emotions and words. Eventually Mark told me that it wasn't my fault as much as he previously said which made me feel a little bit better. We could hear the constance of rocks falling, and distant seracs breaking from the Nisqually and the rocks on the Cowlitz, which worried me because of the climbers, once I saw a rock the size of what looked like as big as my room bounce into a crevasse and out and back in, one rock a few days ealier as described from a ranger jumped a huge crevasse and landed perfectly on the climbing trail which we could see the track it made from one side of the crevasse to the other. We thought it wasn't very nice for them to just leave us here while they go off and summit, also we paid 30$ for this? But a ranger came up to us and started asking us some qustions. He told us the pass lasts all year which brought some hope into me, the Mount Rainier are a lot nicer than past experience rangers. He also told us not to go to this one crevasse due to boulder fallings, and told me to put on my glasses. Another ranger wanted to see how we were doing and offered us water and lemonade! Very nice people, and I was thinking what a cool job to have.
We dicided to take some photos and practice making snow anchors which he showed me three.... the snow anchor, the deadman, and some other one that looked like a shield. I kept wanting to put on sunscreen but he would say after this, and by the time I put some on, I forgot about my face, and wanted to put some on but by this time our leader guys came down. They didn't seem that tired, although a bit, because well.... it's Rainier's Summit they went to! We packed up our stuff, and started heading down. The sitting glassades were not so good due to the time of day, too slushy, but running glassades were great. The way down was very fast, later we got off snow which I was dissapointed about. We kept going on and off snow, and later got a view of a distant goat.
We got down to the bottom alright although the group a little scattered. Matt bought me a drink which was mighty decent of him. We walked back to the car and drove home. On the way there was a restraunt right outside Mount Rainier National Park which the food was good but expensive. Matt offered Mark and me a soda which was nice, there were free refills, and he also brought us dinner as well, and even after we said no to pie, he got us one anyways because he knew we wanted some. It's kinda strange, up on the mountain we were thinking of him as greedy because it seemed as though he wanted the summit for himself and his buddy, but later he was very nice. Someone told me that it was just to make them look good, but perhaps they were nice guys, but a bit irresponsible, and well perhaps a bit of summit fever, but at the same time mabe there responsible in the sense of having me stay back because "he" doesn't know my potential. We arrive at there house which Mark's dad picks us up and he did not expect me, and it's almost ironic that Dan charges gas money for going home, but the climbers who I did not know did not charge me, I even offered the climbers, but they kept saying our company was good enough. On the way home I asked Mark "Whne we were up there and you said us not summiting was my fault did you mean it?" before I asked this he said it was the climbers, but after asking the question told me partly which I concluded he did not want to hurt my feelings and perhaps was thinking yes. Coming home I did not feel well, not that I was physically bad, but mentally, usually I come home from the mountains feeling great, but this time I felt as though I wasn't the same. But this is just the beginning, next weekend, it will be another story. I'm trying to recover from this, but I just can't help but keep feeling bad. I felt very bitter, and hoped for things to get better, unfortunatly things only got worse after this trip.
The Aftermath of this trip was far worse than I expected, it created a conflict between friends and the climbing community. My friend Mark was warned after this trip
"Be careful if you ever go out with that guy, his heart is in the right place, but he is dangerous" -Someone who read my trip report on this
I also got some other responses like:
"Is this for real?"
"They were jealous of your age and wanted the summit all to themselves!
...or maybe you were driving everyone in the group nuts, so they ditched you at Camp Muir. Your nonstop yapping had everyone's nerves on edge, but even the subtle hints to put a sock in your festering cakehole weren't getting through. The frequent stops to fiddle around with your gear were certainly pissing them off. The crappy tent at Camp Muir probably sealed the deal. So instead of being honest and telling you that you're annoying as hell, and that they didn't want you to ruin their experience for them, they spared your feelings and told you it was your age & inexperience. But even then, there was hope. All you had to do was convince the leader that you were mature and responsible enough to continue with them to the summit. You probably could've earned some brownie points if you had been a man and said "Well if you aren't comfortable taking me, then by all mean's don't. This has been a great learning experience for me and I appreciate the opportunity to climb with you guys. Thanks for dragging me along this far, and good luck tomorrow!" Instead, you threw a big baby fit and wallowed in self-pity... Personally, I would've ditched your a** back at the ranger station."
"If you had been ready for this trip you would have not been kicked off the summit team!! You are not ready."
"It seems as if you have some demons you must face yourself before grappling with more technical peaks. Don't even try to summit Rainier again, or Baker, or Sahale. You're not ready for them yet... I have better things to do than teach unappreciative people how to climb." -Mark (my friend who came with)
"I'm not sure why anyone would want to take you [for a trip] at this point. You've pretty much painted us all a picture of yourself as a nightmare of a partner on a week-long trek to hell."
"I've lost all respect for you Josh. It's time that people stopped treating you with kidgloves. By the way - no crying with claims of how you're going to change. I don't think a whole lot of us want to hear it."
My friend Mark was no longer allowed to go hiking with me for a very long time, I felt very betrayed, my hiking friends were no longer willing to go on trips with me, and some even thought I was gonna die. The cold conflict lasted until early 2010 and in ways is continueing to this day. After the trip I felt defeated in so many diffrent ways, it almost seemed impossible to win, "perhaps I was no meant to be a climber" were my thoughts. The saving moment for mountaineering perhaps was when a few weeks I had an awesome adventure up Mount Baker. My friend Mark has most of his respect back, although it was hard to earn and I had to appologize and such. Another product of this trip is that it contributed to be being disallowed from the mountaineers, fortunatly I have good friends to help tach me. For the most part I gained much respect from the hiking community by doing many many trips responsibly. So now all is well.
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