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It is no easy journey

August 29, 2009|By Peter Buffa

Ever climbed a mountain? I have. In my dreams.

I’ve climbed Mt. Everest a couple of times. It was hard. I’ve climbed the Matterhorn, although I’m not sure if it was the real one or the one in Disneyland.

That’s the way dreams are. Even when things are right they’re a little wrong. Oh, and I was climbing Mt. Saint Helens when it went ka-boom and had to run all the way back down really fast.


I don’t remember if I lived or not, but I was a total sweat ball when I woke up. There are people who do such things in real life though, as hard as that is for the rest of us to understand — climb mountains, sail around the world solo, eat Velveeta.

Maybe it’s thrill seeking, which is fine, everyone should do their thrill seeking whenever and wherever they can. Then there’s British mountaineer George Mallory’s answer to why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest — “Because it’s there” — the most famous three words in adventuring lore, except I don’t get it.

The Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building are there too, but that doesn’t mean I plan to climb, hang on to or jump from either of them any time soon.

Among those men and women brave enough to try to climb a really big mountain that’s real slippery and windy are a pair of unlikely soulmates of George Mallory and Sir Edmund Hillary — two Newport Beach moms named Mindy Cameron and Debra Miller.

The mountain that Cameron and Miller have in their sights is the dazzling and stately Mt. Rainier, which presides over Seattle and is the crown jewel of the Cascade Range, along with Mt. Hood and Three Sisters in Oregon.

In the wee small hours of this very morning, Mindy and Debra were scheduled to begin their final assault on the summit of Washington’s Mt. Rainier. Hopefully, all is well and they are nearing their goal even as you read and I write.

Trying to subdue a 14,000-foot mountain means climbing before dawn, while the ice and snow are still firm and fully packed — yet another reason why I try hard to never climb mountains.

“They say that you would never do it if you saw what you were climbing over,” Miller said.

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