Well, let's get the bad news out of the way right off the bat. I didn't make the summit. No summit for me. Frankly, I'm okay with it. I know my limits, I know what I need to work on from here before I come back, and I learned a lot.
So why didn't I make it? Two reasons. First, my left knee has been giving me problems off and on for a couple months now. I managed to aggravate it yesterday ice climbing, and it really flared up today. It was getting really sore going up, and, from the occasional downhill bits on the way up, I knew it was going to really hurt on the way down. I was right, pretty much every step on the way back down felt like somebody was stabbing me in the knee. Gritting my teeth the whole way. Owdge.
Secondly, I was just too exhausted to make it. I knew it was going to be tough, and that it would certainly be a huge struggle in my current physical condition. But it got to where every step was a struggle, and I was starting to slip around and stumble quite a bit. I might have been able to push myself all the way up, but it would have taken dangerously long and I almost certainly wouldn't have made it back down. Best to turn back.
How far did I make it? Roughly 4,200 feet. Up to the treeline. Still an impressive accomplishment, and I'm pretty damn proud of what I did accomplish. 4,000 feet in 4 miles over about 4 hours. No walk in the park, that's for sure. Well… okay… it is a park, and I was walking, so…
At this point, I am now more exhausted that I think I've ever been before. I am wiped out. My shoulders are sore from the heavy pack, my ankles and calves are throbbing, my knee is still painful to walk on, and I have zero energy left. I'll be sleeping like a baby tonight.
As you may have picked up on from my “before I come back” comment, I plan to do this again. Even with my current state of exhaustion, I can actually envision doing it again, so I'm sure I'll come back out. Probably next winter, assuming I can get dedicated to training a lot in the interim. It was a really great experience, and I can see where it would a lot of fun if I had the appropriate fitness to do it without get wiped out so much.
More pictures were taken today, I'll try and post those later. Assuming I can muster up the strength to dig the camera out of my pack. *laugh*