First Successful Women’s Climb Of The Northwest Season!
Some of you may have read about our new Women’s Program this year. We are excited to announce that our first Women’s summit climb of Mount Adams was a great success! As the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, I was lucky to join the team for my first summit climb. What a great way to be introduced into the alpine world!
Mt. Adams covered in snow. Kayla Fenske photo
The team included MM Guide Sondra Ripperger, myself and climber Liz Pauldine. We enjoyed each other’s company on the drive down and knew we would make a great team. The heavy winter had left a lingering snow pack extending 2 miles south of the trailhead, which made for a long day into our first camp. However, perfectly blue skies, with not a cloud in sight, stayed with us the entire four days of our trip!
Kayla Fenske and guide Sondra Ripperger excited for the climb. Liz Pauldine photo
Since Mt. Adams is a beginner climb, Sondra offered great instruction on Leave No Trace practices, and basic mountaineering skills that would prepare us for the long climb ahead. Liz had climbed several Cascades peaks before this trip, so I was grateful for Sondra’s and her patience as I slowly learned the techniques for snow travel. Liz and Sondra were excited to discover an added benefit of climbing with women only — we were able to follow a “woman’s stride”, rather than try to match a man’s broad gait. It was little things like that that made this trip so great!
Mountain goat on the lookout. MM Collection
Approaching Sunrise Camp at 8,100 feet on day 2, we spotted two mountain goats perched high on the rocks! Arriving in camp late in the afternoon after a long day on the snow traversing to the southeast side of the mountain, we set up camp and Liz and I crashed in our sleeping bags for a much needed rest. Sondra prepared a wonderful variety of meals for us, and even delivered hot water bottles to our tent to keep our sleeping bags warm! Every morning, Liz got her cup of coffee to start the day off and we had a variety of hot drinks throughout the trip – a welcome warmth in the unseasonably cold weather.
Sunrise colors on the Mazama Glacier. Kayla Fenske photo
Summit day began with a beautiful sunrise as we set out on the Mazama Glacier. Due to the heavy winter snow, very few crevasses were opened up, providing straight forward routefinding and easy travel up to the summit. The winds picked up the higher we got on the mountain. Around 10:15 a.m., the steep mountainside began to level out and I looked up to see the summit only feet away! The clear blue sky offered spectacular views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and even Mount Baker in the distance.
At the summit with Rainier in the background. Liz Pauldine photo
As we descended the mountain in 30mph winds, Liz celebrated with a little: “I am woman, hear me roar!” By 6 pm we had reached our 6,300 foot camp, still glowing from our accomplishment. We all agreed that this trip was incredible from the weather perspective, but also due to the fact that we had the company of inspiring and strong women on our team — the trip was just that much better.
To find out about our other Women’s climbs and courses, click here. Sometimes it’s great to just get out with the gals!
- Kayla Fenske