Friday, June 04, 2010

"Hanging Out" on Shasta?

I had one of those synchronicity experiences today that you just don't plan on.

I was up at Shasta and the weather was icky and rainy and I had decided not to go on my trip since I had a second trip planned also in June (because this isn't the first time I've been rained out). I was down in the fantastic local mountaineering store asking for an explanation of the confusing topic of Randonee Skiing gear (I'm much less confused now), and the store staff was chatting about a Shasta Mountain Guides trip and I tossed in a bit of info that I knew.

One of the people involved in the conversation was an SMG guide and looked right at me and said "Hey I know you. We hung out together - on the West Face." Now while I go to Shasta a fair bit there are very few people there who recognize me and I wasn't initially familiar with the location, but she looked familiar so I played along for a moment, with the brilliant response of "Really?" "Yeah you do dog shows right?" Oh God she's right obviously. Then I thought to introduce myself and she told me her name and it all came back. I'm totally impressed that she remembered me from a year ago because she guides a lot of people in a season.

The West Face is above Hidden Valley and I've only been there once on an SMG trip, so I wasn't immediately familiar with the term even though it's an obvious feature. It was during that trip where I realized that my altitude issues now prevent me from keeping up with a group. This guide, let's call her L, stayed with me when I fell behind. She was so patient with me. What really amuses me now is that "hang out" is the last thing I'd call my struggling with not enough oxygen in my non-responsive muscles. We did spend some time together and I'd love to hire her as a private guide sometimes. I do hang out when I'm on Shasta but it's at Horse Camp when I'm casually relaxing and chatting with others. Her using the term makes me laugh because of its deliberate absurdity.

What was amazing was when I finally decided to turn around she went back with me (they kinda have to), and then she turned right around and booked back up the incline to catch up with the group. It was still early enough that we were all using headlamps (Travel on snow is easiest when the snow is frozen and that's in the very wee hours.) and I could follow her remarkable progress. She openly admits to being a calorie burning junkie and I can relate to a much smaller extent. The endorphins are hard to beat.

Anyway I mentioned the possibility of maybe hiring her to do a private climb of the lower part of the Cassaval ridge or other routes and she said that they often do things like that.

I so admire good guides. They usually love what they do and it shows.


Elf said...

People who remember things like that amaze me. I am truly interested in people and their lives and listen intently and try to ask good questions to broaden my own experience (selfish) and then 10 minutes later I can't remember if [for example] my niece is in 6th grade or 8th. Let alone recognizing someone I'd met only briefly in a crowd and recalling (a) them, (b) where & when the crowd was, or (c) what their hobbies are. Yep, amazing.

Ellen said...

What amazed me was that I remember her perfectly, she was so nice to me, but because I did not expect to meet her right them and I did not expect me to remember me the context was completely off and I didn't recognize her at first.

Elf said...

That happens to me, too. Someone walks up to me and says hi ellen.

Jennie said...

Wow, she sounds amazing. What a neat thing, for her to remember you.