The hike to the peak covered a little over 8 miles, starting at 6,000' and topping out at 11,499'. I started to feel the elevation around 9,500' and was walking pretty slow as I neared the top. I reached the summit around 1:40pm to find the hardcore group members already eating lunch in a little rock wall/wind barrier circle. Immediately the shoes came off and the food came out. A tri club member suggested smoked salmon, cream cheese and a hearty bagel as a good summit lunch and boy was she right. We spent an hour relaxing and bandaging wounds. Luckily for me, my gear was working out well and had no complaints at the top. Others were not so fortunate and the blisters were in full force. We split up on the way down and for some crazy reason I decided to head down with the 15 mile group. :)
The decent was long. The beginning felt great. There was even snow! In southern California! In mid-July! I really wanted to eat a handful, but obviously decided against that since I didn't really want an GI problems for the rest of the hike. There was some trail finding involved and for a while we were hiking up which really hurt my spirits. We really only took a small break to fill water at a stream and then had to wait 30 min for the iodine to kill the bacteria. I passed out some smooshed pb&j sandwiches. The last 3 miles were relatively steep and as the tiredness crept in I began trail running, or better described as careening down the mountain in a semi controlled manner. Thank goodness for trekking polls. As lame and old people-ish as they look, they were an essential part of me reaching the summit and descending safely and with less pain. We reached the wash right around 8:40 and it was just about time to put on our headlamps and get out of there! The other group brought the cars to our exit spot. So 6 hours up, 6 hours down and an hour lunch break. We camped at a boy scouts camp and dinner was being cooked as the tents were going up. A little warm Tecate, chicken pesto pasta, and oreos...yummy!
I've experienced long days (i.e. climbing epics in Red Rocks) but nothing where I was moving for such an extended period of time. Now I know what my mind will be like in an Ironman! Granted, I was walking, not racing, but it was up and down a mountain at elevation!
Sunday we woke to thunder. After packing up camp it began to rain. The others bailed on climbing plans and headed back to San Diego but Paul and I were determined. After a little breakfast at a diner we made a decision based on weather to head to Joshua Tree. Starting up the Swift, a 5.8 3 pitch climb, all was well. As I began to follow the 2nd pitch a storm rolled it. It was pouring! Our route became a waterfall of rain. I know I'm not comfortable hand jamming, but it's impossible for your hand to stick when water is streaming down the crack! I somehow managed a foot jam and a right foot smear and muscled my way up the crux of the climb. We quickly swapped ends and he basically free solo'd the last pitch. Of course, once we were on top the sun came out! We dried out a bit and started our down climb. We decided to keep climbing, because after all we drove all the way to J-tree to climb. The rest of the day was amazing. He lead Count on Your Fingers, a 5.9 crack and then we set up a 5.10d top rope called Child's Play which was awesome! I made it through the crux, passing the roof but then I fell, or rather let go near the top because I'm so out of climbing shape. Argh! I got back on and finished the final 3 moves. (and was angry for giving up so close to the top!)
Overall, a great weekend. I proved to myself that I could do things that I once thought not possible. I forced myself to wakeup for swim practice on Monday to float through the water. I ended up feeling ok, so I swam pretty hard. Tuesday I got my bike back from the shop (it shifts so nice now!) and went for an evening ride to and twice around Fiesta Island.
Tomorrow I'm climbing at the gym with my Idyllwild friend, David and it's also Paul's birthday. It'll be interesting to pull on some plastic since I haven't climbed at the gym in a while! Friday is the usual cove swim and monthly potluck. I think I'll go visit Bethany in the hospital as well. She had her scoliosis surgery yesterday. This weekend I'm planning on doing a 3 mile swim in the cove with the UCSD masters team (cove, pier, cove). It should be a good indicator of how I'll feel next weekend for the 5 mile swim! Sunday, I'm a swim buddy for the Solana Beach tri; but climbing may happen instead.