For a bit of training in elevation, I strapped on my snowshoes and hiked from Timberline Lodge up to Silcox Hut today. It was harder than I expected, but it was rewarding. I’ve never used snowshoes before, so it was definitely a learning experience.

I also learned how to lock my trekking poles in their extended position, since I’ve either been using them retracted or not using them at all while hiking. Unfortunately, I learned that while at the top, thanks to a friendly fellow who was skinning up at the same time. So, even though I hate to share this because it shows how much of a novice I am, I’m also kinda proud. I made it up from 6000 to 7000 feet in an hour(ish), in very basic snowshoes, no poles.

My right calf protested a bit on the way down, keeping me from digging in like I would have liked. Even still, I don’t get how people say that going down is harder than up. Up sucks. Especially with no poles.

Weather: Foggy. I put on my Gore-Tex shell to protect from light rain about halfway up.

A bit of weirdness: My iPhone turned off (died of cold?) when I pulled it out to take pictures before heading down. When it returned to normal temperatures, it turned back on with as much battery as it had had at the top — over 50%. Looking for advice and recommendations…I want to be able to use it to take pictures and tweet (if there’s signal) on my upcoming climb. Here are the couple that I was able to get today:

From Silcox Hut

From Silcox Hut, facing south (panorama)

From Silcox Hut (panorama)

From Silcox Hut, facing south

I took a big lesson in pacing today. It’s not a race. Choose a pace where oxygen can get to your muscles and just keep going. That was hard. Really hard.

But the biggest lesson was a mental one, as usual. I definitely got to a place — a couple times, in fact — where I felt like turning around, or even felt like What the hell am I even doing?. Learning how to push through that will be key. The biggest difference between stopping 100 ft short of my goal (which I desperately wanted to do) and making it all the way there was not the extra workout my legs and lungs got. It was the workout my brain got. It was the difference between doing what I set out to do and choosing to fall short.