When we left for Denali, and again after we got back, the Girls and I promised that we would return to blogging, and share more in-depth information on our prep, what worked, what didn’t, and how the trip went. We wanted to share our stories, and we wanted to do it through this blog, which was such a great asset as we prepared for Denali, and which triggered so many wonderful conversations along the way.
What we overlooked when we made those promises, however, was that when we returned, it would be summer. Full-blown, gorgeous, glorious, Seattle summer. The time of year when Seattlites burst out of doors and don’t come back inside until the fall, when it turns rainy-er, and darker, and we remember there are other things to do besides climb and scramble mountains, hang from rock walls, and sleep in tents or bivvy sacks all over the gorgeous state that we four call home.
For me, personally, this summer was also a summer of change. Big climbs, big trips, and long breaks from the usual create space for us to reconsider the shape of our lives from a new vantage point, and for ourselves and those who love us to step back and consider whether we are each living our lives in the way and in the places that we seek. When I returned from Denali I experienced a big change in the shape of my personal life, and as a result ended up spending far too much of my summer looking for new housing, before eventually relocating to Seattle’s lovely and welcoming Magnolia neighborhood in early August.
In the midst of a period of so much transition – so much change – it was hard to even think about Denali – hard for me to remember we did it, hard for me to find the time to process what it was, what it meant to me, and what I want to do next. I was so consumed by the effort required to make necessary changes to my life and my housing that I didn’t really get a chance to stop and think about what it meant to me – to begin telling friends my stories, and to even finally look at the other girls’ photos – until two weeks ago, when I finally began to find my way to the other side of all that change, and found the time to really dig into what it meant to me.
The incredible upside of all that change is what an immense joy it has been to rediscover our Denali climb – to begin to pick it apart, dissect it, turn it over again and again in my mind, and relish all that I learned about myself and my friends, about climbing big mountains and the community of people who habitually climb them. I’ve found that now that I’ve re-opened those memories and begun telling the stories, and dissecting the experience, I can’t stop – it brings me too much joy.
So as Jenn mentioned in her previous post, we’re going to resume the blog, and tell the story of the climb as it went down (or up! All the way up to the summit!), and I personally am going to commit to a weekly post starting this Wednesday (“hump day” posts seem appropriate for a successful summit attempt), moving through the days of the climb incrementally, and also incorporating bits and pieces of data, called ‘beta’ by climbers – the stuff you’d need to know if you wanted to climb the mountain yourself. I have all my receipts in a shoe box that moved with me to Magnolia, and I’ll go through them and itemize what was worth it, what it cost me, and how I used it, and also talk about what we might do differently, knowing what we know now.
Each of the other ladies will participate and add her own blog posts as she sees fit, and as work schedules and busy lives allow.
And for those in the greater Seattle area, you are welcome to join us at the Mountaineers’ Climbing Committee’s inaugural “Beta Night” on Tuesday, November 10th at 7pm, when Leigh Ann, Jenn, Carolyn, and myself will give a presentation on how to prepare for a Denali climb, with lessons learned from our own trip (and photos! And beer!)
[Editor’s Note: If you do plan to come, please RSVP at the link above!]
In the meantime, we’ll get busy writing posts and organizing photos(!) for the Denali Girls blog, so feel free to post and ask questions as we go!
I’m delighted to have the opportunity to return to sharing our story with you. 🙂