Located on the eastern side of the North cascades lied a challenge for my class and I. we were to climb Colchuck peak, a prominent peak within the Stuart range. We were to do what seemed the impossible; summit.
I was one of the thirteen students out of my Literature of the Outdoors class to face the challenge. The main purpose of our climb was to take what we had learned in class and apply it real life. However, it was also physically demanding, Colchuck peak is 8,705 feet above sea level and we would gain 5,000 feet elevation in the four mile hike into camp. On the second day we planned to summit, gaining around 2,500 feet elevation in only a two mile climb.
We began the trip with a four hour bus ride from Rainier to Leavenworth. We left the school around 7:00 AM and as a result the bus ride was full of sleepy teenagers. The bus had the worst time driving on dirt trails as we got closer and closer to the parking lot for the hike in. Once we had gotten there we took all of our packs off of the bus and began organizing them. My English teacher, Mr. Kenney, came to me and asked me if I would carry the rope for our group. I replied with a “no problem” and strapped it onto my pack. When finished packing I had come to find out I, along with Brad, had one of the heaviest packs. Despite the weight, my group and I began hiking. The trail started with a nice bulletin board warning us of avalanches, ticks, and cougar danger. I took a steady pace the whole hike and stopped to take pictures and to snack on my dried fruit or one of my Clif Bars. As we were hiking we got to see the most splendid scenery. We were hiking up dried up stream beds so as a result, we saw many waterfalls and the nearby river. I remember first seeing Colchuck Lake; the clear blue water with sheets of ice floating on top and the smell. You could smell the pine, the cool spring air, the Top Ramen you were going to eat for dinner and feel the sleeping bag you were going to curl up in.
Day two began with seven guys piling out of a four man tent pushing and shoving one another. We started by lightening our packs and as we did this Mr. Kenney told us what to watch for; Crevasses were our biggest danger, if one of us were to fall into one we would fall at least 60 feet and possibly die. It gave me a sense of fear and made me ask myself “What would happen if I got hurt up here and I couldn’t get out without the help of someone else”? The ascent was brutal, when climbing out of the col it was so steep that I was standing up straight and I could reach out in front of me and touch the snow. It felt as if I was floating in the air. I and six others hit the summit that day. We spent a total of 30 minutes on top of what took us 36 hours to accomplish. However, it was the best 30 minutes of my life.
This climb changed my future career aspiration. I’m going to work in Search and Rescue as a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician. I want to be there to help someone who is in real danger, when they’re asking ” What would happen if i got hurt up here”?
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