STANFORD, Calif. The Stanford women's rowing team traveled to Lake Tahoe over the weekend. On Saturday the team climbed 2,000 vertical feet from the Squaw Valley Ski Resort up to the High Camp of Squaw Mountain. Here is a firsthand assessment of the climb written by sophomores Kay Rusher and McKayla Taaffe.
It was a slightly chilly morning as we clambered out of the excursions ready to explore Squaw Mountain on a leisurely hike. We envisioned a day filled with team bonding and adventure. We had absolutely no idea what awaited us.
Our fearless leader Katherine Toothman took charge of our 30+ person squadron and navigated us along an icy, muddy, obstacle-filled path up the mountain. However, aside from a few slips on the ice, it was childs play compared to our normal Saturday morning workouts.
About 45 mins in, we noticed the trail was not as obvious as before and we were scaling some pretty sizable rocks. Some more time passed and soon it became clear we had strayed very far off the path. Waist deep in snow with our shoes frozen, we stood in a small circle with miles of untouched landscape around us. We made a quick group decision that the only possible choice was to continue to climb the wrong side of the mountain in hopes of reaching the mythical gondola at the top that would return us to the bottom.
Colorado native Ellie Parker, no stranger to mountain climbing, usurped the lead from Katherine Toothman and led the team up a snow and boulder filled gulley. The ultimate exercise in team bonding, shouts of GO STANFORD and HERE WE GO CARD could be heard as the team slowly but confidently forged its own path up Squaw. Leaders Kay and Ellie became slightly nervous as they reached the top of the gulley because, unknown to the rest of the group, they were not totally confident in their mountaineering abilities. They were not sure if we would ever make it.
However, after one small stretch in which they were no longer hiking but swimming through the snow, we reached a point where the gondola was in sight. We had free climbing on massive boulders before our fearless leaders took us to safety.
The full team followed close behind the leaders with only a few bloodied and scratched ankles, numb hands, lost shoes, and one bout of altitude sickness. The sophomore class, who made it up the moutain first, made sure to treat themselves to french fries at the moutain top resturant as a reward. Thankful to be unscathed, Stanford Women's Rowing proved that no mountain is match for us.