#Vanlife Part 3
I guess I have to start this post by filling in a little of the back story about the previously mentioned failed attempt on Mt. Hood. One week prior Justin, Jessica, Parker, and myself made an attempt on Mt. Hood. Unfortunately, Parker had some complications and we didn't make it any higher than about 100ft up the Hogsback. I'm a big enough person to admit I did not handle this well. It REALLY rattled me. I felt like an unstoppable machine that day. My cario was on point. My footwork was dialed. It really felt like nothing more than a snow hike to me, and to make it soooo close and not bag the summit after all that was mentally very hard. That was, and still is to this day, my only failed attempt at a summit. In the end it was good for me for a couple reasons. One, I proved to myself that no matter how bad I wanted the summit I would always make the right decision when it came to safety. Justin and I had the opportunity to continue on to the summit with Jessica escorting Parker back down, but with visibility being limited and Justin and I being the most experienced people in the group it simply didn't make sense. It was not a hard decision to turn back around, and for that I am happy. Second, it was a stark reminder that at the end of the day I am not in charge. There are simply too many variables to be stumbled upon to always achieve the goals we want to achieve at the exact time we want. Patience is a virtue, and one that I continue to work on daily.
Fast forward to the "now", and I was kinda glad it worked out that way. You see I knew that Justin, Ines, and Jessica were going to make another attempt on Hood on this Sunday night. The girls had confirmed they were set for a 12AM departure time, and we all kept the possibility that I would be climbing a secret from Justin. So at 11:55pm when I hopped out of the van and came over to give him a big bear hug the disappointment of the previous week melted away permanently. He's my best friend, and I knew how much climbing Mt. Hood meant to him this year as it had been 10yrs since the last time he climbed it.
With the pleasantries out of the way we set off! The girls were a little beat up from climbing Mt. St. Helens the day before (rightfully so), but despite that we all kept a good pace, and made it to the Hogsback in great time. The bergshrund was quite wide open by now so with a decent traverse to the right we got around it and headed up to the Pearly Gates. The snow conditions weren't ideal, but overall I really can't complain. Especially when we were greeted with the most stunning sunrise I've seen in my life. Like, holy shit hold the phone and look at that! The mountain's shadow was in full effect, and I couldn't help but just stand there for a second to take it all in. Man I love this stuff!
We reached the summit with no issues, and it was one of those magical and cheesy poetic moments in a way. Great group of friends. Amazing sunrise. My best friend and climbing partner. All that at 11,250ft. It's the stuff dreams are made of that's for sure.
We got our pictures, smiles, and hugs out of the way and quickly headed back down the Pearly Gates. The key to climbing Mt. Hood safely is to get your butt up, and back down before the sun warms up the snow. It's astonishing how many people fall and die on that mountain for the sole reason of summiting too late in the day. We down-climbed the Pearly Gates due to how steep it melted out to be, and aside from blowing out my lightweight hard-shell pants glissading on snow that was waaaaay to hard the descent was quite uneventful. It was done. Finally! Many times we had planned this climb with a countless number of variables keeping us from making the trip down, but now it was done!
After getting some breakfast in our bellies (I mean we did get back at 9:30am) Auden and Charlie (Justin's little boy) played in snow until they were tired and wet. It was great to have the families together and see the kids play. I didn't want it to be, but it was time to go. It was time to make the long 6hr drive home and call and end to an incredible road trip. Kim and I got a great chance to talk on the way home, and I could see the glimmer in her eye when it came to talking about the van. She was hooked, and was quite open about admitting it. It was taking us places we had never been, and on adventures we had never dreamed of. We didn't know where the next #vanlife trip would lead us, but despite spending the last 4 days in the van we couldn't wait to get back on the road. Until the next one!