Earlier this year I decided to plan and execute a fundraising event to benefit a nonprofit organization that provides outdoor adventure programs for at-risk urban teens. The catalyst for raising awareness, and in turn funds, was an ambitious two day, two peak assault on the highest summits in Lassen Volcanic National Park, California; Brokeoff Mountain and Lassen Peak – an active volcano. The trip required covering nearly 30 miles over the two day trip and saw an elevation change of almost 8,000 ft.
This, by far was my most brazen snowshoe adventure. It wasn’t a long multi-day trip (I love those too), but there was so much riding on the success of the climb. My climbing partner and I had a goal of raising $5,000 dollars (which he hit) and we had a number of sponsors for the climb who we did not want to let down, including Tubbs Snowshoes (thanks again for the Flex ALPs!!). Laden down with the weight of heavy packs with all the gear we needed for a winter climb in a park that gets more snow than any other place in California made the trip a difficult one, yet the extra load of expectations, months of public preparation and media coverage coupled with the desire to climb for the kids whose lives the money would affect was a cumbersome, self-ascribed burden to carry.
To say that my body didn’t scream for respite nearly every vertical foot climbed would be a lie. The first day was my most difficult and challenging. We started at 7am and climbed to the summit of Brokeoff Mountain, a 7.5 miles RT. Then we set off to snowshoe 9 miles in to a place where we set up camp. By the time we had reached our destination it was a pitch black, moonless night. The temperatures had dropped to the low teens and even setting up a tent and cooking dinner seemed like arduous tasks for my spent body. However the new day brought a renewed sense of energy and we finished our climb successfully.
The memory of the trip will forever be one of my fondest snowshoeing trips. The opportunity to do be a part of doing good for others and the chance to work with amazing companies to do what I already love to do, be outdoors, was and will be, a highlight on my outdoor resume so to speak.