Monday, June 29, 2009

Yes Tour: California!

YogaSlacker Dan reporting -

I just finished off my second week of "active recovery", after getting crippling knee pain in Colorado. I've been trying to keep my knee moving a bit and relaxing and letting the injury work itself out. I've almost got basic club juggling down, and my flexibility has increased markedly! Feeling pretty confident this weekend, I decided to make a bid for the summit of Mt. Shasta! I tagged along with my friend Natalie from the UCSB outdoor department, her sister, and 5 of her sisters friends. We wound up in Mt Shasta City preparing to climb about 7000 vertical feet over 6 miles, half of which was on thick snow, in one big push. Just two weeks ago I could barely move my knee, but regular yoga has done wonders. I still had my Kahtoola running crampons, my now worn-out pair of Inov-8 X-Talon 212s and a pair of Drymax socks, so I figured I'd be alright.

The start was mellow but early (7200ft, 1AM), I pushed mostly with my trekking poles and took it easy on my knee, not really knowing what to expect. We hit snow at 9400ft, put on our crampons, and started up the mountain. I had the lightest snowtravel system of the bunch, especially compared to the hard-shell boots that most of the party was wearing. All the way up people commented about my shoes and crampons, which looked (and were!) much more flexible, comfortable, and light than anything else on the mountain. I found that in normal shoes I would have suffered much more from cold feet. My tried-and-tested 212's give my feet plenty of warm blood, to prevent them from getting frostbitten. If the conditions had been less beautiful, I would have thrown on my extra warm pair of wool socks, but there was no need. Also, I can wiggle my toes even in crampons!

We summited with no problems, took a few photos, marveled at the view, and started back down. We met up with the rest of the crew about 200ft down, whowere a bit behind us. Natalie decided to summit again with her sister, who was suffering from wicked bruises from her hard-shell boots. I waited for them to come down, and we glissaded down over 3000ft of gorgeous snowfields. Needless to say, the way down was a bit faster than up, and we wound up back at camp by 4PM. My feet got really wet for the first time (despite the 212's being non-waterproof) during the glissade. Nobody was spared, though, from wet feet. Luckily, now down, my feet didn't stay cold for long.

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