I really didn’t think I could make it up Mt. Shasta the 2nd time I tried. On California Challenge 08′ I struggled and struggled… but I was turned around at 12,500ft because of altitude sickness. I knew it would not be my last time on the mountain after I was defeated the first time, and I was right. Two years later, I found myself at the base of Mt. Shasta again on the Peak Leadership 10′ trip. This time, I knew it would be war.
Every step I took starting at the 2am departure time was a struggle. We were hiking with crampons and ice axes, and just trying hard not to fall off the face of the steep slope, let alone advance another inch. There were many times I wanted to give up…. turn around to my warm comfortable tent and my sleeping bag and just forget it.
My friends wouldn’t let me quit. They knew that this climb meant so much to me… and no matter how tired I was they supported me, and I supported them back. We all walked together checking on each other constantly… we made sure we were safe doing switchbacks, and while attached to ropes we supported each other when someone slipped.
Because of my trip-mates, which became friends, which turned to family, I have been to the summit of Mt. Shasta. I know now because of them what it means to be a true friend… and I know what it means to fight hard for something and have people there to support you. It was the hardest 15 hours of my life up and down that mountain, but feeling of total happiness and success I felt when I took those final steps is one I will never forget. Adventure Treks taught me through this experience and many others like it in my 5 years about true friendships, and I know that the friends I made over the years will stay true for life.