Linda and I met in the Spring of 1990 through the Chemeketans, a climbing club in Salem, Oregon. That summer we started climbing together on rock, snow, and ice. Here I describe some of the mixed climbs we shared while getting to know each other. These were club climbs and I have fond memories of our experiences and those we shared them with.
Mount Jefferson, Oregon Cascades
In June of 1990 Linda and I joined Betsy, Nancy, Bill, Darcy, Debra, Leah, Roy, George, and Tom on a Chemeketan climb of Mount Jefferson, the second-highest peak in Oregon.
Mount Jefferson takes a quite different appearance from each side and offers some challenging routes on snow, glacier, and rock. Timing can be important. Too early in the season and the summit rock pinnacle can be covered in snow and rime ice making it quite dangerous. Too late in the season and the glacier crevasses can be difficult to avoid or cross and a steep snow traverse below the summit cliffs can be quite icy.
Over the many years my success rate for summitting Mount Jefferson is only about 50%, but I admire that mountain the most of all those in the Oregon Cascades.
Corkscrew Route, Sloan Peak, Washington North Cascades
In August of 1990 Linda and I joined Bill, Gary, and Doug on a Chemeketan climb of Sloan Peak in the North Cascades of Washington State. This was Linda’s first trip into the North Cascades, a wild and beautiful mountainous region with steep rock faces and ridges and hanging glaciers. We would return many times to these mountains and build vivid memories of our visits.
Eliot Glacier, Mount Hood, Oregon Cascades
In the autumn of 1990 Linda and I practiced ice climbing and crevasse rescue techniques on Eliot Glacier. The Eliot Glacier descends the steep north face of Mount Hood and is heavily crevassed. It is an ideal ice playground after the snow melts and the crevasses are open and ice seracs stand exposed.
Kautz Glacier Route, Mount Rainier, Washington Cascades
The following July Linda and I joined Ray and Roy and climbed Mount Rainier via the Kautz Glacier route. This route avoids the crowds at Camp Muir and on Disappointment Cleaver. The route includes a scenic high camp below ice cliffs and steep glacier climbing above.
We experienced strong and cold summit winds. On our unroped descent from high camp Linda lost her footing in crusty snow and slid towards the Nisqually Glacier. Fortunately she was able to stop herself with her ice axe. By the end of the trip Linda was an experienced and proven glacier climber.
About Paul McClellan
I had the good fortune to have spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, where I discovered the joys and addiction of hiking and climbing in the Cascade Mountains and other mountain ranges in the Western United States.