On August 7, 2013, I was making one last stop before an awesome adventure in the North Cascades. I had been looking forward to this trip all summer. It would be an exploratory climb for me and my teammates: an ascent of the rocky west ridge of Forbidden Peak, a traverse across Terror Basin, and a finish on a thin, snowy ridge to the summit of El Dorado. It would take all my energy, perseverance, and commitment. I packed up five days worth of camping supplies, plus all my snow and rock climbing gear to make this trip happen. I just needed to pick up a few last minute items at REI before meeting my carpool...
When I returned to my car after a quick stop in the store, someone had broken my passenger door lock and stolen almost everything I had. I was devastated by the loss--not only of the physical items, but of the lovingly prepared homemade backpacking meals, the memories I had with that equipment, the years it took to accumulate just the right things at the right prices, and the week of careful packing to ensure I would return safe and sound from the mountains. I didn't expect that this experience would have been abruptly pulled out from under me. I felt violated, angry, and empty.
Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, my love and passion for the outdoors have blossomed. I have learned through formal coursework and logging hundreds of hours on and off the trail the skills of technical rock climbing, snow climbing, navigation and teamwork. Getting outdoors makes life enjoyable and whole for me. I depend on equipment like tents, backpacks, clangy metal gear and technical clothing to help me create lifelong memories in the wilderness.
And in a moment, all was lost.
I will return to the mountains. I yearn for the trail, the fresh air, and the sense of smallness one can only get far out in the wild. As a new small business owner and former teacher, it will take many years to begin to replace all I've lost on my own. With your support, I can get back into the mountains that I love.
Thank you for your well wishes and support!
Trip reports and photos of my adventures on jessb.org
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