Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Here's a bit of a recap of the last couple weeks of our lives. We got to spend two incredible weeks out in the Washington/Oregon area, with our main goal being to summit Mt. Rainier with our good friend, Paul. We gave it a good go, but due to extremely high winds, we made the choice to turn around at 12,350 ft. at the top of what is called the Disappointment Cleaver [gives new meaning to the name a bit] :). Unfortunately we were a bit low on food and supplies, so we had to descend from Camp Muir, where we were staying around 10,000 ft, and didn't have time to go for a second attempt at the summit. So after a bit of deliberation, we decided on a day of sea kyaking in the San Juan Islands before parting ways with Paul. We had a blast and met some pretty cool people in the process.
Mark and I spent our second week hanging with our friends Aaron and Annie, and had the good fortune to summit not only Mt. Adams, which we attempted last year, but got turned away by weather, but also Mt. St. Helens. It was an amazing couple weeks that fits into this wierd dichotomy of being super physically straining, but also super exhilerating and refreshing at the same time. Below are some of the pics that sum up our trip and give you a visual of what it is we spent all our time doing. Enjoy!
The night before we left for vacation, Mark was ordained! I'm so proud of him and excited for how God will honor this commitment he's made to serving the church and building His Kingdom. Congrats honey!

A clear shot of Mt. Rainier: 14,410 ft. What a sweet looking mountain!

This was a random hotel we stumbled across in Elbe, WA near Mt. Rainier National Park. It's called the Hobo Inn and you stay in railroad cars made hotel rooms. This red one was ours.

Mark and Jess gearing up for the hike up to Camp Muir at 10,000 ft.

Mark and Jess hiking up in a snowy cloud. Luckily the route was wanded so we had some clear direction. We broke through the cloud deck at around 8,000 ft. which made visibility much easier and was a beautiful view.

Mark and Jess hanging in the public shelter at Camp Muir: 10,000 ft. We basically spread our sleeping bags out on some wooden platforms. It wasn't heated or anything, but was definitely nice to be out of the wind! Notice the sweet puffy jackets we're all wearing in these pics. We rented them for the few days we were on Rainier, and they were awesome! It was like wearing a sleeping bag!

Jess, Mark, Paul. Right behind Paul's head is where we went up and over: Cathedral Gap.

Jess and Paul sitting on the top of what's called the Disappointment Cleaver [DC]. This is around 12,350 ft. We sat here for a long time trying to decide whether or not we'd continue on. You obviously can't tell from the pic, but it was stinkin windy! We probably faced 50 mile an hour winds, which is why we decided to turn around. The wind was steady and bearable, but the gusts would drop you to your knees so that you wouldn't be blown over. They sometimes felt like they might even pick you up off your feet a little, which isn't cool when you're on an exposed ridge. When it picked up Paul's weighted backpack and sent it flying toward a cliff, we decided it was probably time to turn around. We found out later that no one summited that day due to high winds.

Paul headed down the DC.

Incredible Crevasses. Glad we didn't have to walk over/around those...we just got to walk by them and look at them. :)

Jess and Mark on Ingrahm Flats, just over Cathedral Gap from Camp Muir. Behind us is the Ingrahm Icefall. The rocks you see off to the right are part of the DC. Looks nice out, right? But it was still really windy. We lost a water bottle and two sleeping pads due to wind on the mountain that day.

On our way down from Rainier, we stopped to practice our crevasse rescue skills we acquired during our class we took a few days earlier. That's my head peaking above the snowline in the back. I "fell" over a snow "cliff" and needed to be rescued :). Mark is setting the anchor.

Paul during our rescue scenerio.

We had an extra day so we googled sea kyaking and found out that the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington are a prime place to do so. We had a great day, but unfortunately didn't see any of the Orca whales that hang out around there. We did see some harbor seals though! If you look closely behind us, in the distance is Canada's Vancouver Island!

Paul and one of the guides who [random] just happened to go to high school together.

We got the chance to drive down to Bend, OR to connect with our friends Aaron and Annie. It was so fun to get to see them again! We miss you guys here in the QCA!

Our tent camped at the Lunch Counter, a flat spot on Mt. Adams around 9,400 ft. We got to this spot last year, but woke up in a cloud and snow/rain. The view behind the tent is where we climbed the following morning to a false summit. The real summit is hidden behind it and up about another thousand ft.

Jess in the tent keeping warm.

A great sunset from our campsite.

Jess and Mark standing at the false summit with the real summit behind us. It's the little knob in the middle.

Mark on the summit of Mt. Adams: 12,265 ft.

Mark on his way up Mt. St. Helens...notice it's a gradual climb. We weren't sure exactly what the conditions would be so we hauled up our ice axes and crampons only to have day hikers wiz by us in shorts and t-shirts and tennis shoes :).

Jess at the summit. I know it looks like snow goes up higher than I'm standing, but the edge of the crater has huge cornices of snow [snow that curves over the edges of the actual lip]. Obviously you don't want to walk out on that b/c it's not stable and will probably one day fall into the crater. If you look a couple pics down, you can kind of see some of the cornices on the crater rim.

A view of the glacier that rings the lava dome down inside the crater. Wierd to think a glacier could form inside a volcano huh?

Looking down into the crater.

A view of the outer crater.