This year I had the chance to climb Mount Baker with the Hedge family. It was a great experience to get to work with them. The head of the team was John, the father. His two children Laura and Andrew, who are now in there 30’s, and Laura’s husband Vince made up the rest of the team. It was a team of varying ages and ability levels. But I assured them that if we just went slow and steady, we would reach the summit successfully.
On the climbing day we awoke to a perfect day. We had great weather. The temperatures were perfect and the wind was absent. Our team set out about 1 hour after the other rope teams. We watched as their headlamps bobbed up the mountain ahead of us. I moved our team slowly and steadily up the mountain. As the sun rose, we could see that we were quickly gaining on the other rope teams. Near 8,500 feet on the mountain we passed the lead team. We arrived onto the summit first that day, welcomed by perfect conditions. It was warm and perfectly calm. It was a beautiful day.
We descended down the mountain in the same casual pace as we had ascended. The pace seemed to be perfect, because we arrived at camp in no time at all. The rest of the night each family member looked back toward the route we had climbed. The sun was setting and casting a majestic light on the mountain. John, Laura, Andrew and Vince were each amazed that even though we were slow, we were still the fastest team. John, at age 67 knew that this was going to become a sort of bragging right.
--Dawn Glanc, AAI Guide