Sometimes the summit isn’t the high point

When I met Barbara Bain and her daughter, Ally, in St. Augustine, Fla., this spring, we chatted a lot about Summit For Someone, Big City Mountaineers, and how to train for an SFS climb while living in flat Florida. When Barb wasn’t around later, I asked Ally what she thought about her mom deciding she was going to climb Mount Hood.

“We weren’t really surprised,” Ally said.

Barb turned out to be an incredible fundraiser and champion for BCM — she raised almost twice the required amount for her Mount Hood climb, totaling $6,575 overall. However, conditions were not great at Mount Hood last week, and the rain never let up. Our climbers and the folks at Timberline Mountain Guides made the decision to not try for the summit, and our climbers went home without standing on top of Mount Hood.

Was Barb disappointed? Not really. Here’s the message she sent out to her Facebook friends after she got home:

As you all know, last week I headed out to Oregon to climb Mt Hood for charity: Summit for Someone. Here is what happened…

On day one we completed snow climb school – which was 6 hours, in the rain, at 42 degrees, climbing in snow up to our knees at times. It was wonderful!!! I LOVED it!

The only down side of the day was that we had already come to the conclusion that we were not going be able to climb to the summit the next day. Conditions were treacherous: 4 more inches of rain and snow expected, 30 degree temps and 40 mile an hour winds, and more importantly … a very low chance of reaching the Summit, and a very high risk of Hypothermia. No one had made it past 10,000 ft in over two weeks. That night the wind howled, the rain flew by my window sideways and by morning my car was covered in ice at just 6000 ft. The summit is11,239. I knew we made the right decision, yet part of me was devastated as I left the mountain

So what did we do now?? My fellow climbers and I chose to reschedule our Mt Hood climb for next year, and spent the day in a rock climbing school at Smith Rocks. I climbed to heights I had never imagined, sat on the top of a rock pinnacle looking out over gorgeous Oregon, and ended the day with a multi-pitch rappel down a 300 foot rock face. AMAZING!!!

At one point, the word “failure” was muttered. I disagreed. We could all have just paid the money to climb Mt. Hood anytime, but chose to instead work hard to raise money through Summit for Someone to send kids on wilderness mentoring trips. With your help, I was able to raise enough money to send 16 kids on an adventure of a lifetime. To me THAT was a success!!!

Am I disappointed not to have summited? Sure! But I was one of the top 5 fundraisers out of over 100 climbers, and I am quite proud of that accomplishment. I also had a most amazing experience at Smith Rock and discovered a whole new world of adventure in which to play! Yahooo!!

Thank you again for your unending support and encouragement, and of course, your generous donations. I could not have done it without you!!!

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there!”

Mt Hood, Oregon 2011–the next chapter…

We’re excited to get Barb on a BCM expedition next year, and maybe another Summit For Someone climb, if she’s interested!

-Brendan

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