First Wedding Anniversary: The Mazama Way

by Leora Gregory
Photo people, in strict left to right:
Mark Fowler, Dyanne Foster, Jean Hillebrand,
Gary Riggs, Lynne Pedersen, Rita Hansen,
Moriel Arango, Leora Gregory, Jason Vosburgh,
Jay Avery, David Carrier, Jonathan Myers,
Karen Vernier, and Amad Doratotaj. Photo: Aaron
Mendelson (another Mazama who happened
to also be on the mountain)

What better way to follow up a wedding on the summit of Mt. Hood, but by a wedding anniversary on the summit of Mt. Hood?  Mazama members Leora Gregory and Jay Avery did just that, by leading a Mazama climb to the top of Mt. Hood to celebrate their First Wedding Anniversary.  (See article on their Mt. Hood Mazama Marriage climb in the May 2015 Bulletin.)  The idea was born right after their wedding, when so many (and especially, Rita!) couldn’t make what was then a mid-week climb.  This year, the anniversary fell, conveniently, on Saturday, and the fairly regular stream of storms Mt. Hood had been getting subsided long enough for a spectacular climb.

This year, the climb had to be done at night, as the freezing level was forecast to be above the mountain the entire night with clear and sunny skies predicted for the summit day.  The team climbed the western chute of the Pearly Gates (last year, they went up the eastern chute) with pretty much stair steps through the crux, and enjoyed long distance views bathed in sunshine on the summit.

Photo taken by Jason Vosburgh of the anniversary
couple kissing on the summit, with Gary
Riggs looking on.
Some notable aspects of the climb: 
  • As was the wedding climb, this anniversary climb was led by Mazama climb leader Leora Gregory, and assisted by (now husband) Mazama Classic member Jay Avery.
  • This was Mazama climb leader Lynne Pedersen’s first *successful* Mazama climb of Mt. Hood!
  • The couple’s officiant, Mazama member Karen Vernier, freshly recovered from the flu wanted so much to join in the celebration that she did a simultaneous solo climb.
  • Mazama member David Carrier started his solo climb several hours later than the team, but skinned up in time to meet the team going though the Pearly Gates!
  • Four of the wedding climb participants (all Mazamas) were able to join the climb: Dyanne Foster, Mark Fowler, Jean Hillebrand, and Gary Riggs.
  • This was Jay Avery’s 95th successful climb of Mt. Hood, and Leora Gregory’s 57th, which also happens to match her age!

Explaining the reason for the large group (12!) to other climbers caused them to help celebrate, and removed the annoyance some climbers experienced when the team (and many other climbers) happened to clog up the chute on the way down. Providing a handline, and allowing everyone to use it, helped to speed up the descent. It would have been even smarter to have had the team descend the eastern chute of the Pearly Gates. . .  (Take-aways for the next climb!)

The entire team worked together to make the climb a fun, rewarding, and celebratory event for all! Many have already mentioned making this an annual event!