On Saturday, January 17 of 2015, a group of staff members and volunteers made an attempt to climb Electric Peak in the cold of winter. The weekend before we had gone up to 8,300” to pack out a snow shoe trail from the Heart of the Inner Retreat to prepare for the ascent.
We met at the RTR Cafeteria at 7am to get an early start – days are short this time of the year. We offered our decrees to Archangel Michael as we drove up to the Heart of the Inner retreat where the temperature measured 17 degrees F. After gearing up with snow shoes and backpacks we headed out over the Mol Heron Creek bridge and up through the woods behind the conference tent frame.
The six people in our group where Rex, David, Slava, Armando, John and Mats. Starting at 6,390’ and a summit at 10,942’, we had over 4,500’ vertical to climb. With the extra ups and downs en route we had roughly 5,000’ of climbing ahead of us.
The first part up to Maitreya Mountain was well packed since some of us have made it a goal to summit Maitreya Mountain in each month of the year. By the time we reached the road behind the shoulder to Maitreya Mountain, the snow was over 3 feet deep.
When you hike in the winter you need to make sure your water, tea or electrolyte drink is well insulated since it’s mighty difficult to hydrate from a piece of solid ice. Drinking cold water and chewing snow also makes you lose your core body temperature and much energy is used to get it back up. Risk of frostbite also increases if you are dehydrated since your blood volume goes down and hence the body’s ability to warm up the extremities. But there are no horse flies, mosquitoes and grizzly bears this time of the year!