Rainier Picture

Dave Ford Does Mt. Rainier 2013: Crevasse falls, non-summits, and magical lessons

Click above to watch my Mt. Rainier video: Released December 2013

One day, I decided that I wanted/needed/had to get to the top of Mt. Rainier in the Pacific NW of the United States. To be honest, I am not really sure why I became so obsessed. I had a few friends that had done this before and was inspired to really challenge myself with an extremely physical feat.  I just made up my mind that it was a goal that I needed to accomplish. I am not a hard-core mountain climber, but I do love the outdoors and something deep inside of me was screaming, “Climb this mountain!”.

Starting the next day, and for seven months thereafter, I trained to accomplish this singular goal. I read books about it. I got out of bed absurdly early. I went to the gym regularly for the first time in my life, ran my ass off, finally got back to yoga, and subjected myself to regular (rather painful) deep tissue massages. This incredible investment of energy was all to be certain that I would be in the best shape possible to accomplish this task. I even stopped drinking alcohol for four months to further my focus, which was a bit challenging given I am a fairly social guy working in advertising in New York City.

I woke up in the morning and I thought about this mountain. I went to bed at night thinking about this mountain. I dreamed about it in my sleep. I drew a giant picture of Mt. Rainier and put it on my wall. To say I was obsessed with this goal would be a dramatic understatement. This mountain needed to be climbed and I envisioned myself standing on the top!

Rainier feature

But, after months and months of all of this hard work, in the end I didn’t make it to the top of Mt. Rainier. I didn’t stand in all of my glory at the highest point on the mountaintop, basking in the glow of my accomplishment in the morning sunlight. All of those hours of training, the huge financial investment, and the mental preparation and commitment… was this all for nothing?

“It is not about the destination, it’s about the journey”, is an adage that has been told time and time again, in many ways, shapes, and forms. These days many think it is nothing more than a cliché. I beg to differ, and I definitely learned the truth of it’s meaning during those 5 days on the mountain. The intent of making this video was to document my triumphant summit of the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. What I came back with was a video of a beautiful lesson that I learned first-hand, that I can share with my friends, family, and the world. I am very grateful that everything happened exactly as it did. I personally gained much more from the experience through not accomplishing my goal. I hope you enjoy!

Rainier rainbow

One Comment

  1. Vi-An says:

    This was a great video. I just signed up for to climb rainier in may and have been obsessively researching everything the past few days. I even bought a book which I can’t wait until it’s delivered so I can learn everything about mountaineering (I’ve only climbed kili in dec) …..Trying to soak up as much as I can and hopefully I make it to the top. If not, I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the journey. that is, unless I fall in a crevasse or get hit by an avalanche, or get eaten by polar bears! only joking. But thanks for sharing the video. good stuff.

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