Well, the original plan was to get up at 5:30 and try to “summit” (which is a verb in mountain climbing lingo referring to making it to the top). More accurately, the plan I had arranged with Christian the day before was to go for it and make it as far as we could, because I didn’t think we would make it all the way based on the first day and the increasing difficulty of the climb the closer you get to the top.
Christian changed his mind in the morning, though (I think because of a combination of the coldness of the morning and the difficulty of the previous day) and didn’t want to try to go any higher. So, Randy and Nate took off and Christian and I stayed at the camp and slept a bit more. Eventually we did try going a little further / higher, once Christian was feeling up to it. It was pretty tough even without the full packs at this point, but while we were there we had to at least give it a shot. Randy and Nate made a valiant attempt, but unfortunately didn’t quite get all the way to the top either. [I don't remember how high they did get, maybe Nate will comment and clarify].
Then we made the trek back down, which would have actually been pretty relaxing (again, through gorgeous scenery) if it wasn’t for the blisters being pounded into our feet with every step. All in all, I’d say it was worthwhile, although I’m still not sure that I want to make backpacking (and definitely not climbing) a regular hobby for myself.
PS – I hesitated to mention this, but I’m sure at least some of the readers of this blog will get a kick out of it… In keeping with a “zero impact” (to nature) approach, climbers climbing the mountain must pick up a set of bags before going up, which are designed to insure that you don’t leave *anything* behind. Remember what I said about maybe not making this a regular hobby? I think this aspect is a solid mark in the “no” column for that decision; it was pretty gross.