This July, friends of the MiiR community embarked on their 4th annual Mt. Rainier climb. Adventure is deeply engrained in MiiR’s identity, and each year the mountain challenges the team in new ways, physically and emotionally. This year marked the 3rd climb for Rebecca Papé. Her appreciation and courage for the mountain inspires us, and we hope it does for you as well.
For my third year in a row, like a child I sprung out of my sleeping bag at 10,000 feet in elevation, mentally rattling off all there was to put on, eat and pack before we could begin our ascent up Mt. Rainier - a mysterious, majestic mountain I’ve come to know more intimately than a distant neighbor. Even perched outside my childhood bedroom window, and equally so underfoot, she has always been to me gentle and quietly inviting. And what a beautifully different world she occupies and offers, even while existing within the same state lines I inhabit.
We were lucky to have a shot at the summit this year. Upon arriving at Camp Muir the afternoon prior, a consistent rainfall settled in, just one of the (many) deterrers to our purpose for being there at all. No one spoke of it, even as the winds whipped over the ridge, rattling the bunkhouse and many climbers’ minds, preventing important hours of sleep. And yet somehow, the rains ceased just in time. The sky opened up to reveal every constellation imaginable, a dizzying sight as we stood side by side, stealing glances upward, waiting to be securely roped together by our guides. It was a go.
Hours later, with the sun chasing us upward at nearly 13,000 feet, the mountain spoke, opening a crevasse and collapsing an ice bridge that immediately turned us around, right back into our hard earned tracks. There was little protest from any of us; the unpredictability of the ever-changing conditions won. Rainier had spoken and shifted on her own schedule, answering to no one, gracing us not with the destination, but with each step approaching it.
And anyway, our lessons to be learned - humility, patience, caution, endurance - are not in the celebration at the top, but in these very steps. Mt. Rainier has taught me this: the journey is the adventure. She has taught me to GO, to try, to respect my limits and intuition and my life, for that matter. She loosely holds these lessons in her glaciated surfaces, making them available to all.