On Wednesday, climber Jennifer Wilson summited Mt. Shasta with the Breast Cancer Fund's 2009 Climb Against the Odds team. She was exhausted last night when she returned to the town of Mt. Shasta, but rallied this morning to write her reflections on the climb. Plus we have photos!
What an amazing event! I'm now off the mountain, clean (yay!) and rested, and can just begin to look back on our journey to and up Mount Shasta. It's thrilling to have been a part of this event. I've met such wonderful people, and I truly hope I have raised awareness among others of the many young healthy people without family history who are getting breast cancer and the importance of investigating the preventative causes of cancer.
The mountain was amazing. Base camp at Hidden Valley was spread out over a rocky outcropping overlooking the valley and town below with many mountain ranges in the distance. As we started our ascent in the wee hours, the new moon allowed the stars to be especially brilliant. As the sun started to rise, we had a beautiful view of the shadow of the mountain on the valley. Somehow, we were fortunate for the entire climb to have perfect weather.
The climb was not all easy though. Forty mph sustained winds at the top of the West Face made it nearly impossible to keep from being blown around. I can't give enough credit to the Shasta Mountain Guide on my rope team, Dane Brinkley, who told us we needed to push through it and even reeled me in closer to him to make it easier for me. He and our other East Coast team guide, Ben Adkison, were the best coaches, gourmet chefs and friends we could have asked for. Dane's mother is a three-year breast cancer survivor. Chris Carr, co-owner of Shasta Mountain Guides, also deserves huge credit for helping one of my teammates move on during a difficult time to eventually summit.
Amazingly, I feel pretty good physically, although I will need to google a few muscles that are sore that I can't even identify! I also have learned a cheaper way than Botox to get plump lips: just don't put sunscreen on your lips every single break when going up a 14'er!
There's so much more I could say, but I want to make sure I have time to express appreciation to the many people who are involved in making this event such a success. Thanks to all the guides, the Shasta community and businesses, the Breast Cancer fund staff, all the supporters and contributors to all the climbers (with a huge hug to all of mine!), and the wonderful climbers this year, with a special thanks to the summiting East Coast team of survivors and strivers: Deb, Amy, Megan, Jess and Victoria, and our special training leader Beth Krusi.
The team heads home tomorrow after an exceptional week. We'll have more photos to share in the coming weeks, so check back on the blog.