Old School StairMaster

So, I have a trip coming up and let’s just say it’s going to be a hard one.  I’m leaving Thursday evening to start a 10 peak push in the southern Oregon Cascade Mountains (More to come in future posts).  In preparation for the trip I’ve been training daily by swimming at least a mile and hiking about every other day and to top it off I decided to spend a little time on the “StairMaster”.   Now, my idea of a “StairMaster” is a little different than most people.  Instead of spending 30 minutes in the gym on a machine I choose to do it “old school”.

Route Profile (The route is in blue)

The road up the Walla Walla River ends at a small BLM trailhead and last week I put in over twenty miles hiking along the river trail.  This week I decided I need a little work on my calves and hamstrings so uphill we go!  There’s a nice ridge that starts along the north side of the river and extends to the north up to the flat ridge top.  the horizontal distance of the ridge is only 1.5 miles, but in that 1.5 miles the ridge gains over 2000′ in elevation.  Of course to someone like me the ridge is the PERFECT “StairMaster”.

I arrived at the trailhead at 6:30 am, a little later than I had hoped, but still early enough for a nice cool hike.  The beginning of the ridge is approximately .25 miles from the trailhead so it wasn’t long before I pointed myself uphill.  My pack was set up to have more weight than normal to insure a good workout (I know…I’m crazy and have come to terms with that fact many years ago).

The upper ridge section.

What a beautiful morning, the sun was still rising over the ridge tops and as I was hiking the lower section of the ridge I could look up a side drainage and see an amazing waterfall.  Again I focused on drinking enough water and eating something every hour to try and replenish the calories lost.

In under an hour and a half I was standing on top of the ridge looking out to the west at the high Cascade Volcanoes.  Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mount Rainier were all visible in the distance still covered with a thick blanket of snow.  I was on the top for under ten minutes before I started hiking back down the ridge, mission accomplished.

In the coming couple of weeks I will be attempting:  Mt. McLoughlin, Aspen Butte, Mount Carmine, Mt Harriman, Pelican Butte, Cougar Peak, Mount Bailey, Mt. Thielsen, Howlock Mountain, and Mt. Thielsen-East Peak (I’m exhausted by just typing out the list) so wish me luck!  Oh, yes still 51 peaks to go.


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