It was a great climb, father/daughter style, tossed together because the weather looked like a great chance for an Independence Day Summit. We had a tremendous adventure, even though the high winds and hard ice at the top made the final push on the last 500 feet too risky for our equipment, skill, and energy levels. The ice was, surprisingly, so hard that we couldn't gain any sort of protection from our ice-axes on the final section, which is, of course, the riskiest, and most demanding part of the mountain. Because of this, we made the decision to turn back just short of the top, but had a great time just the same. Trips like this always leave me pondering many things:
Father/Daughter... it's worked best for me by going on adventures with my kids, and thankfully, they've enjoyed going with me. And it's usually been on these adventures that we've had the best conversations. Strangely, I feel a special connection with my children when I travel with them, and especially when we share adventures. I enjoy life at home, but of course, one is balancing many things there. But 'away' provides time, and space for a different kind of connection.
My job/ My relationship with Christ... Of course, hiking affords great chances for thought and prayer - chances that don't happen during the rub of civilization and daily obligations. I thought and prayed a lot, and found conviction about several things in my life that need to change. If for no other reason, this is why I need to get out sometimes!
Trees... I was pondering once again, walking through the forest, how powerful the tree is as a picture of how we're called to live - rooted in Christ; receiving nutrients from all that's around, and continuing to reach upward. Am I enjoying my relationship with Jesus? Am I learning from my world, my relationships, my culture? Am I living a life of worship? Long moments on the trail afford one the chance to ponder these things.
Challenge ... mountaineering is the art of suffering and even as I'm doing it, I sometimes wonder why. The backache, the absolute spent feeling that comes from going to one's limit and then just a little bit more, and the 'risk' associated with the sport all beg the question: Why bother? But the answers come quickly: I climb because of the the beauty/ the transformation that comes from transcending one's desire to quit/ the physical challenge/ the fellowship/ the sunrises/ crossing streams/ glissading/ the incredible beauty and terror of crevasses/ and the fact that I won't be able to do this forever, but still can. That's why I still climb.
Good to be home. The pictures are here.