Mountaineering Risks

clouds blowing in
clouds blowing in | Source
flowery meadows on a sunny day with no grizzley bear in sight
flowery meadows on a sunny day with no grizzley bear in sight | Source
Lupins in the meadows
Lupins in the meadows | Source
Cold water to cool a hot head
Cold water to cool a hot head | Source
climbing up the rock scree
climbing up the rock scree | Source
Clouds blowing in over the summit
Clouds blowing in over the summit | Source
More clouds and a cold wind. See the black rock cliffs below the upper glacier.
More clouds and a cold wind. See the black rock cliffs below the upper glacier. | Source

A Risky Encounter

THIS is a MOUNTAIN CLIMBING STORY.

It is a true story that happened when I was leading a climb. For reasons found in the story I no longer lead climbs with young fast athletes, but look for slower hiking partners more my own age, experience and fitness level.

JUST LIKE MY MOTHER

Marsha clutched her ice axe. What had possessed her to lead a climb at her age?The day had started well enough. A group of eager mountaineers managed to get their cars and trucks up the logging roads to the start of the climb.

Route Finding was easy because of the clear sunny day. The meadows were welcoming full of flowers: Lupins,Paintbrush, and babbling brooks to cool the hot thirsty climbers. Marsha looked carefully and spotted traces of grizzly bears,places where the big creatures had been digging up groundhogs. But none of the grizzlies were in sight blocking the way.

When her group were unsure of the route they waited for her to catch up, but when the route looked clear and the summit was in sight, they took off like a shot.

"The weather looks like its changing. Lets meet on the summit." Said the tall young man Ted.

"Fine, just keep to the left till you get to the ridge. Be sure to avoid those cliffs on the right."

"Sure we see them" He said and they were running up the rock scree to the ridge as Marsha plodded behind. Damn it, did she tell them to watch for crevasses on the glacier?


Marsha's climbing club was a "do it yourself" type of group. Usually the faster climbers went on ahead. But she tried to keep up and felt like she wasn't being a very good trip leader.She reached the ridge, crossed along to the edge of the glacier and jumped onto the ice. She quickly climbed a steep bit of snow kicking steps and leaning on her ice axe. Clouds were blowing in.

There was the bergschrund, the deep crack between the glacier and the tumbled rock of the peak. She stumbled, grasping at icy rocks and pulling herself up onto the rock from the narrowest part of the bergschrund. She clambered upwards scrambling as fast a she could.

She finally gained the summit ridge when the young climbers from her group were already descending. At the bergschrund they jumped the deep crack, smiling.Some shouted at her as they descended:

“Ho Marsha. Get up quick before it snows.”

Maria, was waiting at the summit. She smiled at Marsha and offered her some chocolate. "We amigas have t’stick together.”

“Thanks for waiting Maria.” Said Marsha.

“Donde esta la vista?” They peered through gathering clouds. No view.

“Let’s descend fast before it snows.” Said Marsha.

Maria leaped down, teetering on the boulders. She jumped the bergschrund at a wide spot, and started quickly glissading down the glacier’s fall line.

“No, not that way.” Shouted Marsha, searching for the safest spot to cross the bergschrund.

“Why not?” Asked Maria.

“Cliffs, Maria. You’re headed right for the cliffs." Shouted Marsha.

“ I’ll go around.”

“When you see them it’s too late.” Shouted Marsha. The wind was picking up and despite her mitts her fingers were so cold she could hardly hold a good grip her ice axe.

“Ah Marsha you’re just like my wimpy amigo. Jose says I‘ll kill myself cycling if I don’t use brakes. Fuck him. I love speed.”

“ Maria I cant keep up.”

“ I’ll wait for you at the bottom.”

“ You don’t know the route.”

”Marsha you’re just like my mother when I fell off the tree and smashed my arm.”

“Don’t run down the glacier there’s crevasses.”

“I took the ice axe course.”

Maria rushed towards the hidden cliffs. It started snowing heavily as Marsha ran down the glacier trying to stop Maria. Too soon Marsha was winded and stopped. Peering down gasping she blew on her whistle and shouted until she finally saw Maria’s misty figure backtracking up the glacier towards her.

“Marsha there’s cliffs below. I almost fell.”

“Damn it Maria. I told you. Be careful.”

“Careful, be Careful! That’s what the doctor said when he stitched up my leg after I crashed my mountain bike. Ho! I see the route. Meet you at the bottom. Ciao.”

On a Sunny Day Mountaineering is Quite Pleasant

Happily Maria and I survived that trip. I decided to find older slower friends for climbing companions,and to aim for sunny days (which is really just lucky days since it can snow anytime in the Pacific Coastal Mountains). On a warm day climbing is pleasant and you can lie down on the rocky ledges or in the mountain meadows, look up at the sky and feel that life is good.

On a sunny day its lovely to have lunch with a view.
On a sunny day its lovely to have lunch with a view. | Source
On a sunny day napping in the rockfall.
On a sunny day napping in the rockfall. | Source
Shiny peaks rize up out of a glacier on a sunny day.
Shiny peaks rize up out of a glacier on a sunny day. | Source

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Comments 25 comments

marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Thanks for your comment Nell Rose. I'm going up the mountains next week-hope it doesn't rain-or snow.

Thanks for your comment Arik-are you a person or an airline???


arik airlines 5 years ago

Wow. Great journey and good way of presenting your traveling. Its really great to read your views.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I am so jealous! lol what an amazing thing to be able to do, we don't have mountains in England, its so boring! we have hills, that's it! lol great hub! cheers nell


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Many thanks for your interesting comments Wesman Tod Shaw.I am experimenting with different styles and topics in my hubs-from sci fi to climbing to political commentary.So far hubbers seem to prefer my wood carving hubs.

I will look up the 74 yr old woman Ernestine Sheperd. I have a friend my age who runs in competitive marathons so I know that fitness and aging is definitly individualistic.

I guess you are in North East Texas-not so mountainous as the wet west coast.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I'm very impressed with your style here, and of course the pictures are beautiful too.

I like "non standard" styles of writing, and will sometimes employee some things like this myself; but of course some folks can become confused if it's not done just write!

Last night on Facebook a friend in Italy shared an amazing link about an African American woman, and I believe her name was Ernestine Shepherd - she's 74 years old, competes in female body building competitions, and out does women half her age. She's posing, flexing her arms - in a bikini. Seriously. I just mentioned that because of the age reference at top. I can't imagine being in such great shape, but that woman is seriously an inspiration.

I'm in North East Tejas - and seldom see a mountain - and even the hiking I did last year in Northern California would probably disappoint you were I to call it "mountaineering." Still, I have a huge appreciation for the outdoors and wildlife.

Todd


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Thanks for your comment wilrhoades


wilrhoades profile image

wilrhoades 5 years ago

Very nice place, Thanks for sharing.


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Thanks jrsearam. I would love to see those rainforests and mountains.


jrsearam profile image

jrsearam 5 years ago from San Juan, PR

I would be honored to have you as my guide. Please allow me to reciprocate and offer my services if you ever want to experience the wonders of my island's mountains; no glaciers but beautiful, cloud veiled rainforests. Happy trails, JR


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

If you ever get a chance to visit Vancouver contact me.Brandywine is just a few hours from the city.

I'll go to the mountains every summer-at least until I get too old.


jrsearam profile image

jrsearam 5 years ago from San Juan, PR

Wow! Sounds amazing! I would give much for the opportunity to trek those mountains. Thanks for revealing the location...JR


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Hi jrsearam. Many Thanks for your comments. I have not done much hiking in the Sierras but I hope to do more someday.

This story is about a BC Mountaineering Club climb of Brandywine Peak in the British Columbia Coastal mountains.

It is in a range of mountains east of the Whistler downhill ski area.

The photos are from Brandywine meadows looking up at the Peak and also from Bridge Glacier area. This second area is east of the B.C. coastal mountains near Goldbridge.

There are some nice glacier photos in my hub "The Glaciers are melting."


jrsearam profile image

jrsearam 5 years ago from San Juan, PR

Wonderful reminder of my time in the Sierras. Where were you? Did you say? I understand if you don't want to. I'm a little protective of my wilderness getaways myself. You refer to Grizzlies so I'm thinking Northwest rather than California. I'll just look at your profile, see where you're from. Anyway, great hub Marsha, JR


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Thanks for your comment Augusfani.You are a true adventurer.


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 5 years ago from Indonesia

I like mountain climbing and hiking too. They're just great outdoor activities.


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Thanks Air Zimbabwe-are you a person or an airline?


Air Zimbabwe 5 years ago

marsha exellent hub...it is very exciting in mountain climbing


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Many thanks Faye Paxton. If you are looking for cheap thrills try a mountain trip-especially with a little rock scrambling or a glacier nearby.

Though being out in a storm is exciting, a sunny mountain trip is best. And go with an experienced careful hiking partner or joing a safe club trip for beginners.Or look me up if you are in Vancouver-we go somewhere almost every week.


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

I'm not a hiker, but your excellent hubs could have me seeking a new adventure.

up/beautiful


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Wish I had a Jeep Rubicon like that Will. You must love it. I once had an Isuzu jeep. It went over anything. I still miss that jeep.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Granted, there are places where a Jeep Rubicon will not go, but not many!


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

You can come climbing with me any time WillStarr. We'd just need a big helocopter with a sling for your jeep and a pilot who can lower the jeep real gently onto the ice so as to not shake up the beer too much.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hi Marsha!

Yup, I like to get there, set up camp, ice down the beer and a have a nice fire going for the climbers when they finally show up! ;-)

Great pics BTW!


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC Author

Yes Will its a lot faster in the jeep.And you can bring a case of beer.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I used to do a lot of this as a kid. Now I use my Jeep!

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