Springing ahead to Rainier
By Keith Schultz
There were just four of us on the Cascade Chapter’s trip to Icicle Canyon on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7: my daughters (Olivia, 13, and Meredith, 11), me, and God.
We were joined by a bunch of climbers at the Rockfest, sponsored by Feathered Friends in Seattle.
God was there in the two chance meetings of Christians I had not seen in awhile, and in the bonding between my daughters and me. We climbed both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was top roping a 5.7 and a 5.8. Sunday we did a four-pitch climb that I actually broke into eight pitches. Meredith loved it. Olivia said it was “OK”; there was no cell-phone reception.
It was also a time for Olivia and I to climb a small mountain to see if we were ready for Rainier. We were. And we climbed it in good style two weeks later on Father's Day (Sunday, June 21).
Olivia Schultz, 13, climbing Mount Rainier with her dad on Father's Day.
I have to admit to being a little nervous with Olivia up there. I prayed almost constantly for guidance and support. Conditions were excellent and we got up and down safely.
Take a Kid Climbing Day
The Dec. 20 gym climb was cancelled due to heavy snow outside. My apologies to anyone who went to Vertical World that day and did not find Climbing For Christ.
We are going to try again! Join us from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 1 at Vertical World in Redmond for Climbing For Christ's international “Take a Kid Climbing Day.” Please e-mail me at Olimerkei@yahoo.com if you plan to be there.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the annual Take a Kid Climbing Day.
— Keith Schultz
Biting off more than we can chew
By Keith Schultz
There were no volunteers for Mount Daniel so Trevor Zahn and I went up the Tooth in scorching heat on Aug. 16.
Trevor is a friend of mine from church so we talked about our church and caught up on each others' trials and successes. It was a quick hike up the trail past Source Lake and then up the talus to the base. I led the first two pitches and Trevor led the third pitch, which was his first lead. Then we baked on the summit for awhile.
Our plan was to climb the sawtooth ridge between the Tooth and Chair Peak, but the weather was just too hot. We down-climbed the north ridge of the Tooth with one rappel near the bottom. From there, we dropped a couple hundred feet to a small pond at the base of a small snowfield and relaxed in the cool, scummy water for half an hour. By then the temperature was 92. We hung out until 5 and rehydrated. The temp dropped to 77 so we set out around Hemlock Peak and summited Bryant. We had hoped to down-climb the ridge, but it was a little too steep. So we got down on existing rap slings in four 30-meter rappels traversing north as we descended. That put us right below a pass over to Source basin, which is where we had come from. We got to the notch right at dark and descended a steep grassy gully with headlamps. We got to a high bench with water as the full moon rose through the haze of a small fire near Mount Stuart. There we bivied on heather with a large contingent of mosquitoes.
We discussed why God created mosquitoes and could come up with no logical reason. The Lord works in mysterious ways. [Editor's note: Climbing For Christ believes mosquitoes are a result of the fall.]
I have been battling tendonitis in my right knee and tweaked it on the dark descent. My knee was still sore in the morning so instead of climbing Chair Peak we bailed to home.
Postcard from the Ledge: Christian conversation and climbing
Rock Climbing in Icicle Canyon near Leavenworth, Wash., July 19
By Keith Schultz
God brought five of us together for the weekend to climb and reflect on our roles as climbers and Christians. The talks on the way there and back were really the highpoint for me as we covered a lot of ground getting to know each other and our relative struggles with selfishness vs. servitude. But the climbing was great, too!
God’s little playground, in this case, was a four-pitch rock. I only had two 60-meter ropes so we tied into the middles and ends of both ropes. This made for some short pitches and good “ledge time.” None of the other four had ever done multi-pitch trad before so it was a great learning climb. The energy was high through the four-pitch climb, and then we ate lunch by Icicle Creek.
We hiked a fair ways up the southern exposure in blazing heat (85-plus degrees) to get to the Wart Wall so Alex McClure could get in his first outdoor sport lead. It is called the Wart Wall because it has big chicken heads (knobs) sticking out here and there. Icicle granite is supreme so Alex was looking for more when he finished that one.
But the day was hot and the hours short. We finished the day at the 59er Diner with good food and thick shakes. And, as I said, we continued our discussion of our responsibilities as Christian climbers on the way home.
Trevor Zahn belaying Alex McClure in Icicle Canyon.
From Alex McClure: “I moved up to Seattle a few weeks ago to start a summer internship. I didn't know anyone before moving here, but after talking with some climbers at work I heard about Climbing For Christ. It was an answered prayer when I heard that there was a Christian-based climbing organization right here in the Pacific Northwest.
“Keith led an awesome trip up to Icicle Canyon. What impressed me most was his respect and consideration for our safety. Everyone in the group completed our routes and had a great time.”
Alex, 20, a college student from San Diego, became a member of Climbing For Christ after this great chapter outing.
Re-starting the chapter with a pair of Prayer Peaks