Stories behind the pictures
In 1995 four of us free-climbed a high mountain peak, Sahale Mountain in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State.
Sahale is a Native American word meaning "high place." At nearly 8,700 feet, there were few other peaks that were higher than Sahale. The route we took had an elevation gain of over 5,000 feet and the round trip distance was 14 miles and the climb took 12 hours.
Sahale Mountain climbers (me with camera on the left) standing upon Sahale Glacier.
free climbing risk
One of the climbers that recently ascended Mount Rainier pulled out and sat below while the remaining three continued on. We unintentionally took a route that was not recommended as the easiest. There were climbers on rope on the rock face that reacted to seeing us free-climbers as if we were a novelty. Indeed, it was risky with perhaps a thousand foot drop below us. If we lost balance, or took a hand and a foot off position at the same time, death was likely. There was one place while going down where I could not see my foothold because the rock below bent downward, out of sight. My left hand was raised as high as I could reach and holding rock while I stretched my right foot downward and below where I could not see. I asked my climbing partner below to place my foot in a hold, then trust him with my life. It held. I learned that my response to challenges, such as this challenge and the earlier challenges that led to it, is that I keep pushing forward. So far I have not been in serious trouble on any adventure, or trouble that I could not overcome. I attribute that to planning the difficulty level of any adventurous undertaking to within my psychological and physiological limits on my ability to handle them. Accidents do happen, I know, so I hope and pray one doesn't happen to me.