Back in late 2011, Gary (Bulldog34) asked me whether I had averaged at least one 10,000 foot summit a week since I started climbing. I didn’t know the answer, but I did have a list of every climb I had ever done. After doing some research and a little math, I got back to him with the answer: I had averaged one summit every 7.9 days for about 24½ years.
Gary said I should get busy and bring my average to at least one summit a week. Moving the average from 7.9 to 7.0 sounded easy enough. All I would have to do was one summit a week plus over a hundred additional summits. Like a fool, I fell for Gary’s suggestion.
I’ve always counted repeated summits, and I’ve tended to tag (and count) multiple summits in one outing, and that’s what I did. I’ve done some non-trivial trips in the last year and a half, but I’ve mostly focused on nearby Mt. Rose (10,776), Church Pk. (10,661), Mt. Houghton (10,483), and Relay Pk. (10,324). Relay and Houghton make a nice half-day twofer on skis in the winter, and it’s not too hard to tag all four when the snow is gone.
As I closed in on my goal (or should I say Gary’s goal), we realized that I was on schedule to hit the one-a-week average at about the time the Bulldog family was flying out west for another Sierra trip. I twisted Gary’s arm and convinced him to bring the family through Reno on the way to Mt. Whitney. I also got to work making sure I would hit the average while they were here.
Gary, Barb, and Bri arrived at our house Saturday afternoon as planned. We had a great time socializing, playing with the horses, and eating homemade Thai and Indian food.
Sunday morning, the four of us headed up to the Mt. Rose trailhead for a pre-Whitney acclimatization hike for them and for at least two more summits for me.
The first two summits, Relay Pk. and Mt. Houghton, went pretty smoothly, though Bri had a bit of a headache. Mt. Houghton brought my average to exactly one summit a week, so there were plenty of high-fives to celebrate achieving the goal Gary set for me. The route from Houghton to the Mt. Rose trail involved descending a steep, loose slope that none of us enjoyed. Bri didn’t feel like climbing any more peaks, so Dad stayed with her while Barb and I headed for Mt. Rose.
I let Barb lead and made her responsible for setting the pace. After a few minutes of going way too fast, she settled down to pace she could maintain all the way to the summit. We did 1,000 feet of gain in under an hour. I took a quick detour to Church Pk. on the way down, and then caught up with Barb a few minutes later. We met Gary and Bri at the waterfall and hiked back to the trailhead together.
Overall, it was a great day. I wish you guys the best on Whitney this week and I hope you’ll swing through Reno whenever you come out west.