Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Into the Thermosphere: 2013 in review

The epitome of joy. This self-portrait taken by Linds and I just after the
marriage proposal captures the spirit of 'Into the Thermosphere' and marks the
most exciting and significant mountaintop experience of the project.
Stuart Peak, June 9th 
December 31, 2013 meant more as an annual chronological cultural milestone, than it did as the final day of the 'Into the Thermosphere' project. In spite of its significance as a definitive end-point for the project, the day passed with little thrill, zero vertical feet and no summits. Instead, the day served as an opportunity to spend quality time with the Love of My Life (LOML), sharing a meal, watching the ball drop and falling asleep with pleasant dreams of a New Year's Day ascent of Stuart Peak. 
A  wet day on the summit of Mount Sentinel with Linds.
All told, the project - 500,000 vertical feet and 100 summits of Mount Sentinel in 2013 - was a total success. These numbers waned in importance as the year progressed. The point was to get myself moving on a fairly intense program while maintaining a healthy balance with my personal and professional life. And in this regard, success was achieved. As for the initial objectives? I came up short on the vertical feet, but greatly exceeded the Mount Sentinel goal. Ultimately, it does not matter. What matters is that the year was one full of rich, life-giving mountaintop experiences, including getting engaged and deepening relationships with friends and family. Throughout the year, I shared mountains with Linds, Lydia Hess, Dave Massey, Stacy Keogh, my Dad!, Phil Goss, Austin Graef, Wes Bowman, Trevor Marsh and many, many more folks! 

Here are the raw numbers for 2013:

Number of vertical feet ascent: 437,250 feet
Average daily vertical ascent: 1,197 feet
Most vertical feet in a month: 62,700 feet (January)
Most vertical feet in a day: 6520 feet (November 23rd - Stuart Peak/Mosquito Peak/Stuart Peak)
Most vertical feet in an hour: 4000 feet (October 2nd - Mount Sentinel double)

Total number of mountain summits: 208
Mount Sentinel: 140 (9 routes)
On the summit of Mosquito Peak, looking back at Stuart Peak.
November 23rd
University Mountain: 34 (5 routes)
Stuart Peak: 12 (3 routes)
Mount Helena: 7 (2 routes)
Mount Jumbo: 4 (2 routes)
Mosquito Peak: 2

Pikes Peak: 1
Lolo Peak: 1
Mount Dean Stone: 1
Murphy Peak: 1
Point Six: 1
Swiftcurrent Mountain: 1
Apgar Lookout: 1
Point 5315: 1
Blue Mountain: 1

Personal Records (non-running): 
Mount Sentinel ascent: 24 minutes 45 seconds (September 18th)
Mount Sentinel roundtrip: 41 minutes (October 2nd)
Mount Sentinel double roundtrip: 1 hour 25 minutes (October 2nd)
University Mountain roundtrip: 1 hour 40 minutes (April 29th)
Mount Helena ascent: 16 minutes 55 seconds (January 25th)
Mount Helena double roundtrip: Sub-1 hour (January 23rd) 
Point Six/Murphy Peak roundtrip (from Snowbowl parking lot): 3 hours 23 minutes (August 17th)

A friendly game of Scrabble on top of Mount Sentinel
with Austin Graef. The scenery won. 
Mountaintop Experiences:
Scrabble games; reading; engagement! (Stuart Peak); napping; jumping pictures; bringing a ladder to a summit (Mount Sentinel); bringing a table/chairs/sound system to a summit (Stuart Peak); eating fresh baked donuts on a summit (Pikes Peak); and snowboarding from summits (Mount Sentinel and University Mountain)! So many wonderful things!

2013 marked the first full year with Rheumatoid Arthritis that I have not had a major flare-up and my levels have been stabilized. This past year taught me nothing if not discipline in listening to my body's needs. What is the ache or pain? Should I take a rest day? The answer, I learned quickly, is invariably YES! Take a rest day (or two), fully recover, then get back out there and do it again. 

It was not difficult to get out almost every day and climb a mountain. I am wired this way! It was more difficult forcing rest and recovery days and finding something for my 'idle' self to do in the daily climb's place. Although this chapter of the 'Into the Thermosphere' project is coming to a close, I am grateful to shed the nagging feeling of the need to stand on top of a mountain every spare moment.

The New Year
On the summit of Pikes Peak with Linds!
July 6th
In 2014, I am shifting my goals to ultra-hikes (27+ miles), bigger mountains and single-day Wilderness crossings. With so many big objectives out there, I am looking forward to moving away from ongoing training goals and onto large, one-off objectives. Here are a few of my projects for 2014:
  • Rattlesnake Wilderness single-day crossing (from Missoula to Arlee by way of the Rattlesnake Wilderness)
  • Stuart Peak, Mosquito Peak, Murphy Peak, Point Six (in-a-day)
  • South Face of Stuart Peak
  • Borah Peak (Idaho)
  • Mount Rainier (in-a-day)
  • Elkhorn 50 mile race (power-hike)
  • Granite Peak (Montana high point)
I am thrilled to continue sharing periodic trip reports on the 'Into the Thermosphere' blog. That, in my mind, only makes sense. Additionally, I will continue to stay steady the course with RA updates. Fortunately, on account of stabilizing at the end of 2012, RA rarely entered as a topic of conversation throughout 2013. And it is for that that I feel extremely blessed and am thrilled to share my experiences as a person that has RA with the rest of the world!

Here's to a happy and healthy 2014! 

Onward and upward,


No comments:

Post a Comment