i serve a mighty God who hears His children and answers their prayers. and this experience reinforced that fact for me. i don’t really know where to start but what i do know is God showed up moment after moment through experience and people over the four day summit climb.

ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. i saw this on our climb. i didn’t make it to the summit of mt. rainier (this time) but God showed me how much this journey, 10 months in the making, was about so much more than just reaching the top of the mountain. He answered every prayer that was prayed and answered it beyond what i expected.

we started with orientation on wednesday and then thursday we hit a snow field for climbing school. it was a very fun day of learning all sorts of things that i never thought of, including how to “save” ourselves should we fall during the climb. the next day we would begin the two day summit attempt. orientation and the snow school were a huge answer to prayer as they truly calmed anxieties over how to pack properly and layer clothing properly as well. just the beginning of God showing up : )

(on our way back from snow school – thanks for the pic rick!)

friday morning we drove to paradise and hiked to camp muir. it was pretty crazy to start in pretty warm weather (pia and i had on our long underwear with shorts over them) and end up hiking through lots and lots of snow ending at camp muir, home for the night.

(that’s another team climbing up where we had just come from)

(pia and i on our way up to camp muir – lunch break, this was when i decided it was snickers and m&m’s time, pia had cold pizza, yum!)

(camp muir: we slept in that box)

once we got to camp muir our guides told us what to expect in the next few hours, how to deal with mild forms of altitude sickness and then told us we had to go to bed soon. i had the beginning of a pretty killer headache from the altitude but i did the pressure breathing that the guides recommended and prayed and prayed for it to go away, and it did!

we got to camp muir at 4/4:30 pm and were to be in bed by 6 pm for a wake-up sometime between midnight and 1 am. it wasn’t easy to sleep but i had my ipod and listened to the good old brooklyn tabernacle choir. pia woke up at one point and smacked me in the face (supposedly by accident – haha) because a mouse had run across her head. i told her she was crazy, but in fact, we’re pretty sure a mouse did run over her head!

(jen and i shortly after we were supposed to be in bed – that’s cloud cover below us!)

at about 12:30 am the guides came in and “woke us up.” it was time to eat, layer up and get all our gear on and ready. the wind was howling like crazy. personally, i had never experienced that kind of wind in my life. dirt was flying everywhere but we were getting ready to go. at this point, pia decided not to attempt the summit. she didn’t feel like her footing was totally secure on the way up to camp muir and felt that with the wind, she just wasn’t quite steady enough and comfortable with being roped in to other people (for fear of taking them down with her). so sven (one of the team members) and i walked down to the start of the glacier, got our crampons on and roped in to our guide pete. with ice axes in hand, we followed the rest of the group across the cowlitz glacier toward the summit (camp muir is at 10,000 feet and our first break was at 11,200-ish at the “flats”).

as we moved across the glacier the wind was sincerely wicked. everyone, including guides, was getting knocked around a bit. once we crossed the glacier we made our way onto cathedral gap (rocks and lots of rocks). the wind stopped us a few times, forcing the front of the team to take cover as to not get shoved off their feet. at one point pete yelled to sven and i to move towards him very quickly, we ran as best we could on the narrow (and i mean narrow) path to get to him. praise the Lord we made it in time as a rather large rock just missed sven. i was praying this entire time that God would protect us from the rocks that make up the mountain He created.

by the time we made it to the first break, through rock falls and wind, i was pretty freaked out. the way the wind was blowing made me feel like i was a mere 95 lbs. and i know i’m not a big girl, but i sure am not a small one either! when i heard that the wind might get worse, i knew i needed to really consider what i was doing. our guides were wonderful, absolutely incredible, and told me i was physically ready to make this summit. mentally, i knew i was not 100%. i was torn, should i contonue on or turn back with a team that was going back? at that moment, sven put his hand on my shoulder and told me it was ok. that simple gesture was just what i needed at that moment. he then reached into his pack, pulled out his camera and asked me if i had read the quote on the back of the door at camp muir. i hadn’t, so he showed it to me:

God used sven in that moment to show me, it was ok for me to turn around. it was ok for me to head back to what felt safe to me at that moment. i can’t explain how scared i was up there, and surprised that i was scared. i can tell you i’m still struggling with the disappointment that comes from not reaching the goal you have trained for for so long. but like i said in the begining of this post, there was much more to this summit attempt then reaching, or in my case, not reaching the summit. most of the team made it and man, i am so proud of each of them!! that was not an easy fete by any means!

for so long i thought the purpose of this journey was to summit a mountain, and while i struggle with not reaching that goal, i praise God for showing me the many other blessings and privileges that came out of this journey. i praise God that He has given me the privilege of seeing His hand move so vividly throughout these four days.

i praise God for our guides, we could not have asked for anyone better (not even our prayers were as good as these guys). each one of them, alex, pete and pat, is so well rounded, grounded and clearly understand what it means to be a visitor on the mountain. each one so humble and encouraging. alex was the same guide that took my friend cindy and her husband graham up mt. rainier three years ago – cindy is the friend pia and i met while training on the stairs. coincidence? heck no! that was God, all the way. pete was the same guide that took cindy and her husband graham to mt. baker and was his guide for a seminar course. again, totally God.

our team was incredible as well. we prayed for unity amongst the team members and i tell you, i don’t think you could find a more unified group of strangers anywhere. each person was willing to step out for the other, and each one brought something special to the team. there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord intended each of us to meet. sven, mark, eric, jen, josh, dave and rick, you guys rock! i don’t know why we had the privilege of journeying together, perhaps our paths were only meant to cross for those few days, or maybe these relationships will remain through time (i hope so), regardless, i know with all my heart, God intended for each of us to meet.

i went into this adventure 10 months ago as one woman (can i call myself a woman? perhaps girl is better?) and ended it a different one. i hope to one day reach the summit of mt. rainier, but until then, i will keep praising God for all the ways He answers prayers, makes divine appointments, and directs our paths even when we don’t see the turns coming.

the Summit for Someone team and our guides!

PS – when i got home, my roommate did the best thing ever! she had a snickers blizzard DQ icecream cake waiting for me! seriously, how awesome is she? and it is decorated with a mountain! she also knew i didn’t make it to the summit, but decided regardless of reaching the top or not, i made it : ) praise the Lord for amazing friends!

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