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Baker with Mountain Madness

A short story from Sarah L.

Pic­ture this: you are very hap­pi­ly mar­ried in your ear­ly 30s, own a home, and you each have pret­ty amaz­ing, sta­ble jobs. Who could ask for any­thing more right? Why on earth would you sell your home, quit both your jobs, and move across the Unit­ed States because you had the insane idea to start climb­ing MOUN­TAINS? Not just hike moun­tains, but CLIMB them; to learn how to become a moun­taineer. Well, we did just that. 

In 2016 we cel­e­brat­ed our third anniver­sary in Jack­son Hole, our first ski trip ever (we had always been beach peo­ple”) and nei­ther one of us had spent any time in the moun­tains pri­or to this vaca­tion. It was life chang­ing, earth shat­ter­ing, mind blow­ing. We no longer want­ed to spend time off from work at the beach; we swore we would only spend it in the moun­tains. On the flight home from this amaz­ing vaca­tion I ran­dom­ly decid­ed to watch the movie Ever­est which as most know, por­trays the climb­ing sea­son on the moun­tain in 1996. Cliché as it may be, that movie was the turn­ing point in our lives. When we returned from our vaca­tion back to Bal­ti­more I was ready to job hunt and start apply­ing to jobs in or near Seat­tle because after my ridicu­lous amounts of research and lack of sleep I knew that this was the best place to begin our training. 
Fast for­ward 6 months after final­iz­ing the sale of our home in Bal­ti­more, pack­ing up every­thing we owned, leav­ing our secure jobs, and relo­cat­ing to Wash­ing­ton state: all we want­ed to do was jump right in to train­ing and start­ing to climb some peaks! We signed up to climb Mount Rainier with a guid­ed group (because we obvi­ous­ly had no idea what we were doing, lit­er­al­ly had only hiked one time pri­or in our lives). We obsessed over train­ing plans, what gear we need­ed, and how to achieve the best phys­i­cal results for reach­ing the sum­mit of that mountain. 
We were for­tu­nate enough to make it to the top of Mt. Rainier on our very first try, the weath­er gods were super friend­ly, we had a great group of clients, and amaz­ing guides that taught us what we need­ed to know to climb on that glaciat­ed beauty! 
Three days pri­or to our Rainier climb I saw that I had a four day week­end right after­ward which moti­vat­ed me to search for oth­er guid­ed climbs (we could be on a roll right?). Moun­tain Mad­ness offered a three day Bak­er climb for the exact dates we were look­ing for…hmmm done and done! 
As it turned out we were the only ones to sign up for the guid­ed climb on Mount Bak­er and it end­ed up being one of our most favorite climbs and expe­ri­ences to date. Con­sid­er­ing we had been on a guid­ed climb with anoth­er com­pa­ny just days pri­or we were pre­pared for an extreme­ly reg­i­ment­ed and slight­ly mil­i­tant rou­tine yet we encoun­tered quite the oppo­site. Climb­ing with Moun­tain Mad­ness (guides Robert Fitzger­ald and Jacob Oram to be pre­cise) was just delight­ful. We spent 30 hours in a tent right next to our guides due to a com­plete white out which we hon­est­ly thought that would pre­vent us from mak­ing it to the sum­mit. Instead of being com­plete­ly mis­er­able we would yell and talk back and forth from our tents, share some cof­fee or some amaz­ing dish­es (I am not kid­ding, those boys could cook), and we all tru­ly enjoyed veg­ging out and wait­ing for the storm to pass…if it did. 
We were blown away by this type of bou­tique” guid­ing style, we felt as though we were climb­ing with old friends which was almost bet­ter than the feel­ing of stand­ing on the summit! 
Who knew this lit­tle trip up Mount Bak­er would put us in the throws of attempt­ing to achieve all of our climb­ing goals with Moun­tain Madness? 
- Sarah Lee