'This year we really got it done.'
Reflections from Brad Pointer, Intro to Mountaineering instructor and U-Rec assistant director
"Climbing a mountain is a curious thing. You can't always explain what compels you in the direction of the mountains, but the pull is there. It must be stronger in some than in others, because many people don't give it a second thought. Then there are those who cannot get the mountains out of their heads, and they are consumed by increasingly daring alpine adventures. I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of interest in mountaineering, and it has been a blessing to me to share this passion with many Whitworth students over the years.
This year was notable in that 95 percent of our climbers reached the summit of Mount Hood over the course of our two climbs. This put a total of 19 Whitworth students and staff on top of a big volcano in the Cascades, which almost doubles our previous record. Of course, countless variables with the trip as a whole as well as with each individual had to come together to make this happen. For some reason, this year we really got it done. It's amazing to see the determined efforts of the students pay off after months of training, studying and diligently practicing skills.
Working with each of these students was very special, helping them navigate training obstacles, life conflicts and time crunches to push through to the fulfillment of their dream. Everyone woke up for at least a few super-early-morning dawn patrol hikes on Mount Spokane before class started, to get real mountain training. I always love it when students catch the bug and continue on to summit other mountains after the course. It was also very special to have five out of eight climbers on our second trip snowboarding or skiing down from Crater Rock. In my opinion, that’s the best way to do mountaineering – you do the hard work of climbing up and then you can really enjoy the trip down.
To be able to offer these students education in mountaineering as part of their academic experience is truly a unique opportunity. It is a real honor to be able to partner with other faculty and staff here at Whitworth to provide this service."