On April 2, 2005 - I received an email from my long lost college friend - Tim Polonkey. Needless to say, I was excited to read the contents
Have you done rainier yet...still in shape? Want to go in August? Let me know how life is going.”
Tim has always been a very fit and active guy. We went on several climbing trips to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, and had done a spring break trip in college to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to attempt the Presidential Traverse over Mt. Washington (home of the highest wind record). I knew Tim would be ready for Rainier - so I sent an email back telling him to count me in.
I also able to convince my girlfriend Cheryl Mortensen that a summer vacation to climb Mt. Rainier was just what we needed to relax from our medical laboratory jobs in Denver. Cheryl and I scheduled a week off from work during the first week of August. We trained for Rainier by climbing several Colorado 14ers (14,000+ ft. peaks), in winter and summer conditions. We practiced glacial travel skills, self-arrest and crevasse rescue on a snowfield called ‘Saint Mary’s Glacier’. We lugged 40+ pound packs up Grey and Torrey’s peaks (front range 14ers) and our favorite little front range hike called Mt. Galbraith - in Golden, Colorado. By the time August came around, we were ready to ascend the 10,000ft route that Rainier offers as it’s most ‘casual’ route.
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