Friday Tidings
5/18/17 at 01:38 PM 0 Comments

Her Royal Highness, Mt. St. Helens

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National Geographic

At age 13 I announced I wanted to be a mountain climber. My parents probably thought it was a phase, but signed me up for a mountaineering course.

My instructor, Glenn, was a retired Air Force colonel and a legend in the eyes of climbing community—he’d been caught in an avalanche and lived to make it an instructional lesson.

Besides climbing techniques, we tackled rigorous physical conditioning—running up steep hills.

I wanted to climb Mt. Rainier. Glenn shook his head no. Our first big climb would be what he affectionately called The Queen: Mt. St. Helens.

At nearly 10,000 feet, it had plenty of challenge with jagged rocks, dangerous crevasses, and ice shelves that could become an avalanche.

At 4:30 AM on a crisp February morn, with headlamps beaming, we began our ascent.

At about 8000 feet we roped up. Glenn had the lead, and he spaced enough rope between us that we could use our ice ax to stop a fall if someone slipped.

Being roped together prevented someone from slipping into a deep crevasse. The danger was real.

The wind increased and I was hit with an icy blast of frozen fog. I could barely see Glenn’s orange beanie up ahead.

After a quick water break we still faced another couple hours to the summit. It was getting steeper.

The shroud of icy fog clung to the mountain, and without our leader’s guidance, I would have walked off the edge of The Queen.

As we neared the summit we were nearly prone against the steep slope. Swing the ice ax, step in the cut we made, repeat. Our boots, fitted with sharpened metal teeth, held fast—good thing, for none of us wanted to tug the one above us down.

By God’s design, the fog partially lifted and we stood atop the glorious Mt. St Helens—gazing out over the rich forests and the pristine Spirit Lake far below.

We’d arrived.

I didn’t have to ask why Glenn called her The Queen—this was a royal display. Glenn walked over to a rock face where names of past climbers had been etched.

Using a small knife Glenn provided, I wrote Karen Kramer 1973.

Just eight years later, that rock with all those etched names, along with 1300 feet of Mt. St. Helens blew skyward and downward with such ferocity that it left a moonscape path of destruction.

REI Seattle

The Queen isn’t as tall anymore, but by God’s healing restoration, her majesty is returning.

Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains sing together for joy. Psalm 98:8

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