Have you ever felt like you had no control of what you were you doing? The sense that fate or destiny took over and you had no say in what you did? This is what I felt when I summited Mt. Rainier. I felt so deprived of energy and out of touch with my body that I had no control over what I did. You might think that sounds horrible but, it was a lifelong experience I would not trade for the world.
Day one of the summit, my dad, two other father-son duos, and I were fresh and ready to go. There was only one problem; where was our guide? Mt. Rainier is no walk in the park and required training, lots of heavy gear, and a guide. Our guide did not arrive until 5:30pm and thus, resulted in my company and I setting camp at 1:00am. We hiked over loose rock, rock stairs, water and snow the first day. By the end of the day, I was already mentally and physically fatigued. Day two was training: the real test of courage. We got to sleep in on day two but only until seven o'clock am. Then, we hiked out onto snow fields, harnessed to each other just in case we started to fall ,which, was inevitable. The biggest test of courage in the trip was being lowered into a crevice, which if you did not know, is a crack in a glacier waiting for someone to fall into. Normally crevices are covered with snow so that the unexpecting hiker will fall into it’s icy pit.
For mandatory training we had to be lowered into a crevice and climb out on our own. A system of pulleys and ropes made climbing out a little less strenuous. It was not the climbing out that scared me; it was being lowered in and having your life hang in the balance of a rope. I did not want the dreadful training and begged my guide to let me summit without the training. Of course he said no for my safety, but there was something inside me that would not allow myself to be lowered into the great unknown of a crevice. Eventually, after many talks with my guide and friends I was lowered into the crevice and climbed out successfully. I felt as though I had climbed my own mountain. The feeling of overcoming my fears ran through me, and I was immensely proud of what I had just done.
Day three on the mountain and my company and I hiked to Camp Muir. Camp Muir is 10,188 feet above sea-level. This is when I started to get high elevation sickness which consists of the following; migraine headache, stomach pains, dizziness, blurry vision, and nausea. My guide started to contemplate if I should go up any higher on the Mountain. The risk would be that the higher you climb in elevation the more sick you get. I decided to sleep it off and see if I would get better. Bad news, my condition worsened and my guide decided that I would stay at Camp Muir while the others hiked to the top of the mountain. Even though I did not go to the top of the mountain, I still felt as though I accomplished something very great. I overcame many odds and proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.
The morale of my story is climb your own mountain. Nobody knows what you are going through or what has happened to you, so do not let others drag you down. Stay on your path and always be true to yourself. “If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”- Paul Bryant