Our happy Anniversary today with great memories of the first year we met. We started dating in January 1992. Phil was guiding in Ecuador and when he arrived home he received a voicemail from me at my office. First date, Chandlers for dinner in Seattle, the night progressed positively enough to consider another date. In February, he guided in South America and I received a Valentine card from him, loved it. In March, we had our second date at Sun Valley to join our past friend, Frank Wells birthday, and snow skied. In April, we started water skiing together on Lake Washington. In May, he could not join my dinner with several girlfriends because he was guiding on Denali. August, we did our first climb together, summit of Mt. Rainier, my first climb ever. September, we climbed to the summit of Kilimanjaro in Africa together. In December, Phil was unable to join my dear friends at the holiday party where we met because he was stuck on the ice while guiding in Antarctica. End of December, we went to Snowbird ski resort, owned by our past dear friend Dick Bass, and snow skied. One of the best years of my life!
Yesterday we climbed to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier. This fall the weather is changing with lots of snow soon. Missed seeing Marmots, they now hibernate during the winter and hopefully they ate a bunch of food this summer. Very quiet, only saw one hiker at Camp Muir this season. Great memory, Phil and I use to sleep inside the cook shack, 10K’ at Camp Muir and one time on that roof before our climbs together to the summit!
Pain is temporary; the summit can make us extremely happy! Finally, we reached the summit of Mt. Elbrus together, 18,481′, highest mountain in Russia and the continent of Europe, achieving the second of our Seven Summits, in the summer of 1993.
After climbing throughout the night and into the morning awhile back, here was our team’s final route to the summit of Mt. Elbrus. Very exciting, lots of climbers led by International Mountain Guides reached the summit this week!
Pain can work. After sleeping in the hut at over 13,500’, we woke up at midnight and had a 5,000 foot day to climb to the summit of Mt. Elbrus. Here was Phil’s response: “Once or twice a year Sue used her hard-earned vacation days to come along. We woke up in the sleeping hut the morning of our summit climb and Sue felt completely trashed. Her head was pounding and she didn’t think she could move. I’d suggested she stay at the hut. We were going for the experience, not for the summit, and I only wanted her climbing if it was going to be fun. But Sue had said, “Well, I can stay here and feel like crap or I can climb and feel like crap. If I’m going to feel like crap I might as well go.” After a little bit of climbing she had begun to feel better, which hadn’t surprised me. Sometimes movement is the best medicine for altitude ills.”
After a few days of acclimatizing, training and making practice climbs in the Caucasus we set out to climb to the hut on Mt. Elbrus. The summit of Elbrus is 18,481’, the hut where we would sleep was approximately 13,500’. Almost there and felt fine until the middle of the night!
Phil, my husband, was our leader on Mt. Elbrus in Russia and Igor, his partner and friend, was our Russian guide. The first few days preparing for our attempt on Elbrus we spent time acclimatizing and training in the Caucasus Mountains. Amazing how expert guides can teach us strong skills and techniques that help us reach the summit and keep us as safe as possible. Honestly, we don’t climb high mountains alone!
Oh my how time flies, the second Seven Summit of my dreams with Phil was Mt. Elbrus in Russia, highest mountain in Europe. Lots of climbers are heading over to Russia now to climb Elbrus, wishing them all the best. We started our Elbrus adventure together 24 years ago. One great way to start the expedition is an acclimatization hike just prior to the climb, so standing on this rock in Russia worked!