Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was born in Ireland and between February 15, 1874 to January 5, 1922, he led three British expeditions to the Antarctic.
Mountaineering has held the allure of men for centuries. But of course, also for women!
For example, Elizabeth Hawkins-Whiteshed (1860 – 27 July 1934), also known as Mrs Aubrey Le Blond, or as Lizzie Le Bond as she was known to her climbing friends, was a British pioneer of mountaineering in a time when it was almost unheard of for a woman to climb mountains.
‘Elizabeth moved to Switzerland, where she climbed mountains in her skirt. In 1907, she took the lead in forming the Ladies’ Alpine Club and became its first president. She wrote seven books on mountain climbing and over her lifetime made twenty first ascents, conquering peaks that no one had climbed before.‘ *
Well, I am not going to be climbing in any of my skirts, however I am looking forward to my first ascents this Summer and Fall. I can only hope to follow in the steps of many brave women that precede me.
As I was hiking today, I realized that setting out on a hike is very similar to running a marathon. At the onset you are scared, then once you start hiking you are excited and believe you can complete it, and several times in-between you question your sanity. Your body aches and you want to scream. An hour before your reach the finish line you tell yourself it is impossible to continue as your body aches and your legs are threatening to stop moving and you are going to just pass out. Then ten minutes before the end, you think to yourself – ‘this was not that bad’.
These thoughts and many more went through my head today, as I did three days in a row of hiking, as per RMI’s ‘Fit to Climb: Week 14 – RMI Expeditions Mountaineering Training.’
Since this was the Victoria Day long weekend, I thought it was perfect timing. On Saturday I hiked 2 hours, and even though the schedule did not call for it, I wore my twelve pound weight vest, to compensate for minimum elevation gains, of because of where I live. Then yesterday, Sunday I did a four hour hike, again wearing my twelve pound vest, because I was only able to gain 298 meters (about 1,000 feet) in elevation, when the training called for 2,500 feet. Yesterday it was raining off and on and the trails were muddy, but great practice for the Carstensz Pyramid upcoming climb I rationalized.
These two days were the prelude to today’s hike, where I had to hike for seven hours, carrying 45 pounds. I headed to the Bruce trail. Steve dropped me off at Limehouse, and then I proceeded to make my way towards SilveryCreek, following the main and side Blue Spruce trails.
I was a little out of place on the trails I think, carrying my 80 litre backpack. This is the backpack that I will be taking with me to Mt Rainier. I had condensed the backpack, since I had put the 45 pounds of weights inside and only had packed some lunch, water and a spare jacket. However almost everyone that I encountered on the trail, either wished me well on my long hike or inquired on how far I was going? 🙂
I currently weigh 100 pounds. So 45 pounds was hard. Really hard. And the loneliness of hiking alone played tricks on my mind.
But at the end, like running a marathon, once you had a couple of hours of rest at home, you can’t remember how hard it was – and are ready to do it all over again.
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