I rock climbed for the first time today! I don't know how I went 52 years without experiencing the thrill of rappelling off a cliff, but it's a crying shame. You should try it! If I can do it, anyone can.
I climbed up and rappelled down Rocky Butte today as part of my training for conquering Three-Fingered Jack in October. I wasn't sure how I felt about walking backwards down a sheer drop with only a little rope holding me (actually, I was terrified and Brendan Moore had to pry my hands off the ledge), but I did it and it was a lot more fun than I'd anticipated. It's just that first step of faith--leaning back into nothing--that got my adrenaline pumping. But the rest of the descent was--in Greg's words--a piece of gravy.
Joel says the part of Jack we'll be climbing won't even be as difficult as our climb/rappel today at Rocky Butte. Except for the fact that there's be an 800 foot drop into nothingness beneath us as we scale Three-Fingered Jack. Yikes--I can't even wrap my mind around that yet!
This week, I'm going to hike Hamilton Mountain, which Joel says approximates the hike we'll do on Jack. My knees haven't been happy campers on steep trails lately (just the coming down part), so I'm hoping that trekking poles will lighten their load. Greg will use the poles going up (his injured ankles makes steep inclines tough on him) and I'll use them coming down. Just call us Team Gimp. But hey, we're going for it!
Like I said in an earlier post, I don't have a competitive bone in my body. Climbing a mountain isn't even a goal of mine--I just got invited on the expedition and it sounded like a really fun thing to do! I don't care if I'm not the fast hiker or the most agile rock climber. (Greg and I are definitely the oldies on this trip). But I do have a fear of holding others back, so I'm training to prove to myself I can do it without great cost to the team.
The only negative about this trip is that Scout can't go. Steep cliffs and spazzy little dogs that run in circles aren't compatible.
But I'm excited about this adventure and Lord willing, I'll have pictures from the summit of Three-Fingered Jack to post in just a few weeks . . .