Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First Climb of the Season

The weather on Shasta is very unpredictable this time of year. Traditionally, the months of April and May are considered the best, but in recent years this has been sort of hit and miss. From my experience late May tends to have very unstable conditions, and I have no recollection of a single Memorial Day in the five years we’ve been here as having nice weather. I can remember many spectacular weekends in early May where I always thought to myself, “This is a perfect day for climbing.” April has always seemed to me a little too cold. That sounds weak, a mountaineer complaining about the cold. I really don’t mind the cold, when I’m on a climbing trip specifically to climb some far away mountain, but when my warm bed at home is only one hour away, I just have some problems with it. It’s for this reason that the past couple of summits of Shasta we’ve had we’ve done the route all in one day. This year is different, however, as it’s all part of the Master Plan of Training for Bolivia.

The cross-training is going really well so far, if I do say so myself. We’re up to the max, 18 miles, on our training runs for the marathon. The theory of the training regimen we are doing is basically if you can run 18 miles, you can run 26.2, so that’s the longest training run we will do. I’m feeling really good, my repaired knee is not giving me any trouble at all. I’ve also notice a great side-effect, and that’s my mountain-shape is following along quite nicely. I carried a 32 lbs weight vest up to 9500’ on Green Butte a couple of weeks ago, and felt strong doing so. Every time I climb Shasta, I feel like I’ve forgotten how tough it can be, but this year I’m feeling especially good about my physical conditioning and very positive about climbing soon.

The first plan that came to me was to make an attempt this coming weekend, May 2-3. Gina and I really want to do a 2-day climb again this year, it’s really so much of a nicer way to climb Shasta and enjoy it more. Also a new co-worker and friend of mine, Brodie, is really interested in climbing. Therefore we have a great opportunity to introduce someone to our favorite mountain and there is no better way than by ascending the mountain in 2 days. The All in One Day option is too much suffering to be pleasant.

After glancing at this week’s forecast however, Gina and I thought better of it and have decided that the following weekend, May 9-10, is a much better choice for our first summit climb of the season. This week the weather has been bad as predicted. Next week is supposed to be much nicer. I didn’t even realize, Brodie told me after I let him know of our revised plan, that May 9th is the Full Moon. So that should make for really cool climbing conditions, as long as we can actually see the sky and it’s not cloudy or stormy. We’re feeling fit and ready. This weekend we will do work around the house that needs to get done and run our last 18-miler. (Our regimen has us wind down now before the marathon, running shorter distances to avoid injury.) Hard for me to believe, but it’s been almost two years since I’ve been on Shasta’s summit. (With Gina’s Everest trip last year I ended up never going.) Thus it will be really good to be back on top again soon. Fingers crossed for calm winds and clear skies the weekend of the 9th!

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