This year I signed up to lead of group of students for the Mazamas Basic Climbing Education Program. The past months I have been assembling other instructors to assist me and ironing out the big details. The first lecture was this past Monday and today was our first conditioning hike. For the next five weeks we will be hiking, practicing knots, learning snow climbing skills, orienting ourselves with map and compass, and climbing on rock. It is going to be a busy time.
One aspect of the class to take a series of conditioning hikes to physically prepare for mountain climbing. As the class goes along we will take progressively harder hikes. I had our group take its first at Hamilton Mountain on the Washington side of the Columbia River gorge. At the trailhead I had everyone (including myself) weight their packs. The hike was a wet and windy one. As we were crossing one ridge we had to contend with a wind that was numbing one side of my face. It would have been interested to weigh our packs and see if the rainfall had added weight.