I haven’t written one of these in some time so I thought it was about time I did one.
A few years ago Shelley and I invited Travis and Courtney in on a business idea that I came up with. I decided to look into the possibility of starting a brewery for my post-retirement gig. Then last summer we entered three beers into beer judging contest and won third place in one of the categories and got great feed back on the other two. This gave us the confidence to take another step towards our goal and we ended up building a mini-brewery in the backyard of Travis and Courtney’s house. Well, in a shop in their backyard.
This construction took much longer then we anticipated. From about mid-December to mid-April. That construction took up all my free time as well. While Shelley was dedicated to getting herself in climbing shape for Rainier in the summer of 2014, I was too busy every weekend and most days before I went to work, building the brewery. The consequences was such that there wasn’t enough time left for me to get ready for Rainier.
Our plan had been to climb Rainier as independents at the end of July 2014. We really want to take a shot at it without guides. So we planned on a 4 – 5 day window that would allow us to sit at Camp Muir for an extra day or so if weather wasn’t perfect and this would also give us good acclimation time as well.
Our schedule was going to be arrive at Paradise the night before and stay at the hotel on Sunday night. This would allow us to cut out the driving time from Seattle and let us climb early Monday morning before it started getting too hot. Hopefully we’d be up at Camp Muir well before noon. If the weather forecast for the week was beautiful, we’d stay at Camp Muir that night and into Wednesday to make sure we got acclimated well. Then we’d leave for the summit Wednesday night around midnight and return to Camp Muir sometime Thursday morning. Depending on how we felt, we could either descend back down to Paradise Thursday or wait till Friday morning.
I know that’s a long schedule for, what can be, a 2-day climb of Rainier. But being our first independent climb, we wanted to make sure we took things slowly. Although we’ve been up there a few times now, we don’t know the route well enough if the weather was bad. We wanted to make sure the route was beaten down enough to follow it easily. We also wanted to make sure we were good and acclimated. No reason to rush up from Camp Muir the same day we arrived. We just felt it would be better to take a day. And lastly, I hate coming down Rainier from the summit on hot summer afternoons. Man that sucks. So I wanted to wait till Friday morning to descend to Paradise.
Also, being independents, there weren’t going to be any guides helping with our supplies this time. It was all on us. All our food, fuel, tent, ropes and climbing gear was going to be on us. Unlike when you go with guides when you don’t carry a tent, fuel, ropes, etc. So, by the time I got the mini-brewery built, I was left with just 2 1/2 months before the climb. It just didn’t seem right to take the chance of not being ready.
Shelley and I do not have our next climbing adventure thought out yet. I guess we could do something this winter like Ecuador or Kilimanjaro. We’ve discussed waiting on Kili until after we retire. We’ve been looking at Ecuador for some time, but it doesn’t appear we’ll be doing that this winter. Maybe the winter of 2015.
We had a pretty good run of Denali, Russia and two trips to the Swiss Alps in three years. But that cost a pretty penny too. That was another reason for trying for Rainier as independents, it’s cheaper that way.
Neither of us want to stop climbing. We’ll just have to see what is in store for us.
If you’d like to check out and/or follow what is going on over at the brewery, you can follow that blog at this link. The brewery is also on Facebook and Twitter. There isn’t a lot going on right now over there as we are still in the very early stages of recipe formulation and learning about the industry. We aren’t in a hurry over there so we are still looking at a few years before we start the licensing process.
As time and events dictate, I’ll keep this family blog updated so everyone knows what we’re up to. But our life isn’t all that exciting when we aren’t traveling. Lots of hours put in at work when we are home, which is why we like to get away as often as we can.
Thanks for following along.