I’m still on a bender about old photos and found this website’s namesake photo.
The photo of Dr. Mike was taken in 1979 on Mt. Shasta at about the 13,000′ level in a total whiteout and some fierce winds. Note the very stylin’ and vintage 60/40 Powderhorn Mountaineering parka. I had one too, only mine was grey and red (you can see the stylist hood blocking the top of the photo.) I only recently got rid of it. Really liked that parka — for not being Gore-Tex anyway.
As you might guess, the flip side of the sign says “Suffer Damnit!” but that photo did not seem to survive. You’ll have to take my word for it.
The stories on this trip include me waking up at 3am instead of 5am and telling Dr. Mike it was 5am. Several hours later he was wondering why it was taking so long for the sun to come up. I think he said some bad words when he found out I duped him.
We climbed up Sargent’s Ridge and were nearly to the top of Misery Hill when this white out shows up. We can’t see anything. It didn’t take long to decide to head down.
At the top of Sargent’s Ridge is Thumb Rock and just on the other side of that is Red Banks (cliffs) at the top of Avalanche Gulch. We didn’t want to go down Avalanche Gulch or walk off of Red Banks, so we knew we needed to hit Thumb Rock.
So we’re slowly feeling our way down and I think I see Thumb Rock looming through the distant fog. I tripped over that same rock about ten feet later and it was only about two feet high. Turns out white outs really mess with your sense of distance and proportion.
A bit later a tiny crack in the clouds appeared and there, in the break, was Thumb Rock. I, being a Boy Scout, shot a quick compass bearing, the clouds closed in again, and made the rest of our way down knowing we weren’t going to fall off of Red Banks. After all, we didn’t come all the way up here to suffer damnit!