Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Return to Mazama Lodge

I returned to Mazama Lodge on Saturday to assist with the Intermediate Climbing School (ICS) Snow Anchors field session.  I have assisted with ICS before, but this would be the first time that one of the club's Climb Leaders would be looking over my shoulder and evaluating me.  This is part of the Climb Leadership Development Program.  I knew in advance that I would be instructing on the fine points of building snow anchors such as Pickets, Deadmen, Flukes, and Bollards (oh my!),  so I had bushed up the week before.  Normally this field session is held near the Timberline Lodge, which is at 6000 feet elevation.  However, weather conditions were not favorable, so we spent Saturday two thousand feet lower at the Mazama Lodge.  This was a good call, because the morning was rainy and cold.  Groups of students would rotate through various stations.  Wearing my trusty red Marmot rain jacket, I gave introductory overviews to a couple of groups and then gave individual hands-on instruction to a number of students during each rotation.  The first time I gave an overview it felt disjointed, but with each group I felt more comfortable with my presentation.  

After eating lunch in the lodge basement, I returned outside to falling snow.  I will take snow over rain any day.  I was working with Tim Scott, who was also evaluating me.  I got some good feedback on my presentation style and encouragement to continue applying these skills on climbs.

With the conclusion of the class for the day we all retired to the lodge to relax and eat dinner.  
My birthday fell on this weekend, so I baked a German Chocolate cake for the occasion.  The cook was happy that I had brought up the cake, because she had not prepared dessert for the evening.  This was the second birthday in a row that I had celebrated at Mazama Lodge.  It certainly was a fine place to celebrate my birthday.
Day two of this snow climbing field session took place near Timberline Lodge.  The weather
 was glorious, with a clear blue sky.  The crisp white snow fields of Mt. Hood watched over us.  In the distance one could see Mt. Jefferson and (as a bonus) the Three Sisters!  Today I helped at a station where student would apply the snow anchor skills learned the day before to a multi
 pitch rappel.  To see the smiles on some of the students when they discovered that the anchors that they had built had held them was the highlight of the weekend.

No comments: