Mt. Washington

July 12-13, 1980

The Mt. Washington climb began, as do most climbs, from the South Eugene parking lot, from where we proceded to drive to Big Lake. Big Lake was named by convicts at the Oregon State Penitentiary, who were given the job of naming various places in order to expand their creative consciousness. The project was ended shortly after the convicts named a small community to the west of Eugene Drain.

From Big Lake we hiked to the top of the North Ridge where we had hoped to camp. Unfortunately, the only spot big enough for twelve people was already occupied, leaving us the choice of either camping on the rocks higher up, or backtracking a short way to another spot further down. We backtracked.

In order to keep my pack light, I had not taken a stove, or even dinner, but had decided to eat only cheese and crackers. As it turned out, this was really sound thinking, since having a small dinner left room for some of Jan’s excellent Ox Tail stew, which was made with fresh, and obviously heavy vegetables and meat.

After dinner we retired, those who were macho sleeping out under the stars, and the rest slinking into their tents. Charlotte and Kim provided entertainment by simulating loud and racous behavior inside their tent, and everyone else demonstrated their appreciation by failing to go to sleep.

We got up at sunrise in order to beat the rush, and climbed to the summit with very little difficulty. The view and weather could not have been better although the Scherer’s balsa wood airplane would have flown better if it had net been missing its wing. Because there were twelve people, our descent went slowly, and was not helped by the presence of four other parties that also wanted to go down. Kim, who had never rappelled before, and insisted that she had no intention of starting out so late in life, went down the pinnacle in near perfect form as did Charlotte, who had never rappelled either.

Except for the fact that the advance guard, led by Gene Thaxton, nearly stole a rope, our descent and hike out were uneventful. After the climb we met for pizza where Nancy told jokes with an international flair. A for the one about the intelligence test. Those climbing were: Pualani Corr, Cecilia Leung, Dave Lewinsohn (leader), Ed Lichtenstein, Eve Lonnquist, Steve Lulay, Jan Baker, Charlotte and Richard Scherer, Gene Thaxton, Nancy White and Bill Williams.

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