Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mountain Romance - Part II

Here is a shot of our engagement boots:

Stepping back, a bit: At the end of the year, Jay and I were noting that it had been nearly 10 months since we’d been together as a couple, and during that time, we were almost always in each other’s company, yet we were still happy to be in each other’s company!  Hum.  We might make it – we might actually be able to make it through a year, together, and ultimately, the rest of our lives.  It was an interesting thought. 

We returned to our daily living, which consists of checking the weather for when the next climbing day will be, and on which mountain.  On the last day of 2014, we were able to climb Mt. St. Helens, which was a nice send off to a very, very full year.  On January 7th, it looked as though there would be a nice shot at Mt. Hood, but by the time we got anywhere near the summit, we’d been hearing ice pouring down from the top of the mountain, and, while down below, there was a nice icy crust, up above, we ran into super soft snow that balled up under our feet, making walking in the steep terrain, dangerous.  We turned around and went back home.

Scouring the weather reports, again, it looked as though January 13th would be the next best shot at Mt. Hood.  Since we’d not made the previous attempt, Jay suggested that we just take the easiest route up, to ensure success, and then concentrate on other routes, later.  Sounded good to me.  We started up the mountain at 4:15am, with a dark sky, but no need for headlamps because the quarter moon was providing enough light against all of the snow to make seeing where we were going very easy.  By the time 6:15am rolled around, I was freezing, and wound up having to put on all of the clothes that I’d packed, which is rather unusual for me.  Usually, I have a couple more things that I can put on, in case I wind up having to stay out longer than anticipated, or in case the weather gets worse than anticipated.   So, I was getting a little nervous, since we still had quite a ways to go.  I mentioned my nervousness, and Jay reminded me that the sun was about to come up, so really, we were in the coldest part of the climb, and, he had more clothes, should I need them.  So we continued up. 

The snow conditions were fantastic – nice crusty snow and ice the whole way up.  As soon as we got to the summit, I wanted to take summit photos (mainly because I wanted timing pictures, as I’m a bit obsessive about noting how long it takes me to climb something – this day, I took 6.5 hours to summit versus the 4 hours it took me, right after we returned from climbing Denali).   Jay was busy taking off his pack, and securing it, so that there was no chance that it would roll down the mountain, and I wanted to take a picture of the two of us, so I had to wait for him to get situated, all the while telling him that I wanted to get this picture of us.  So, he patiently let me take our picture (of course, I had to take several, hoping that I could get the mountains in the background, as well).  And then, when I was all done, he dropped down on one knee, and I thought that he had to readjust his boot or crampon or something, but then he took my hand, and asked me if I’d marry him!  Oh, my gosh!  A romantic proposal!  Holy mackerel!  I realized that it probably was a bit nerve-wracking for him to ask, even though we’d sort of discussed it in different terms, earlier, so I tried to get out a “Yes, of course!” as soon as I could.  After some kissing and hugging, I thought that it would be great to get a sort of picture of the event – we were the only ones on the summit, and I’d not brought a tripod, and after having lost one “camera” on top of a summit, I wasn’t keen to try the self-timer, which meant that all I could get, well, was another head shot:

The day was so  glorious, I had to get a shot of the summit and St. Helens, Rainier, and Adams in the distance, and our two shadows in the foreground:

And then another shot from the Hogsback, looking back up our route:

Another climber’s skis are on the Hogsback, and he, himself, is just a dark spot on the route, just under a shadowed triangle.

And when we got done, I thought we should have an engagement picture, when we’d arrived safely at the bottom, and without sunglasses:

We were both pretty happy. 

After the proposal, on the way down the mountain, I told Jay that I thought that it was pretty handy that he'd proposed on this particular climb, because it was also my 50th successful climb of Mt. Hood (it was his 88th).  Later, I heard him (jokingly) telling people that he had had to wait until he knew that I was serious about climbing, and had to have at least 50 climbs of Mt. Hood under my belt before he would consider marrying me!

Since I won’t wear rings, and not much of any jewelry, for that matter, Jay had decided that he was going to get me engagement boots and an engagement altimeter, since my lightweight mountaineering boots don’t really fit, are no longer waterproof, completely shredded on the outside, and don’t have any tread left, and because I can’t find the altimeter that I know that I own, because I misplaced it while waiting to get it a new battery [batteries and I just don’t get along, very well].  So, yesterday, we went out to get boots for me, and it turns out that La Sportiva has a new, warmer version of their lightweight boot, so while I was trying them on, Jay decided to try them on, too.  He loved them, so we got engagement boots for both of us which is the picture at the start of this lore.

May 2015 bring you wonderful things!