Another Skills and Mt Washington weekend happened, this time a team of four friends were taught and led by Redline Guide Pat Ferland. On the morning of day one he shared with them the ins-and-outs of planning and preparing, covered everything from gear to gizmos needed to execute the climb. In the afternoon Pat took them to one of our local training grounds to cover the skills required to dance the crampons-and-ice-axe-dance without shredding one’s legs. They had a great time, learned a lot, the day was a nice one, and they ended it armed and ready, at least as ready they could be, anyway.
What wasn’t written in the lesson plan, however, though orally defined and described, was how hard and technical this climb can be. We try to convey this, but capturing the true essence of this challenge is difficult. It’s tough, we say, it will make you sweat (and we teach layering and sweat management), your quads will burn, your heart will pound, your lungs work overtime like bellows working to smelt iron ore, and you may find yourself cursing, wondering what the heck you signed up for, having to “dig deep.” Wondering if it was all a mistake. Experiencing “type two fun” (a.k.a. fun that isn’t fun until it’s f*****g done).
This is, we dare say, fairly normal. Think about it. If it were easy everyone would be up there doing it. So, did this team summit Mt Washington amid acceptable weather? We know you want to know. So, no, they didn’t but they did summit the Lion Head sub-summit. There it was decided that this will have to be an incremental accomplishment. Some already speaking of their return to try it again. We will be here to help, and the mountain certainly isn’t going anywhere. The team did, however, have an amazing time. That is what really counts.