As our organization grows, our fundraising climbs have become bigger and better and badder (read: cooler) than ever. In 2020, a group of eleven Trailmixers slapped on their crampons and ice picks to summit Mt. Shasta, raising over $30,000 for underserved LGBTQ+ youth. This year, Trailmixer embarked on not one but TWO fundraising trips – summiting Mt. Langley at 14,042' and undertaking a last-minute change in plans from hiking the northern portion to the 30-mile-long southern portion of the Lost Coast in Northern California due to safety concerns from extremely high tides. Each trip had its challenges, rewards, and awesome stories. Here are some from Mt. Langley:
The July trip to summit Mt. Langley in the Eastern Sierras was absolutely one for the books. Our team started in Horseshoe Meadows and made our way up to the Cottonwood Lakes to set up our home for the next few days. We camped right at timberline with the deer and marmots – what towered above us was a looming lunar landscape that we would soon be climbing.
We threw off our packs and began to set up basecamp – tents, camp chairs and stoves galore. Once the sun started to set, the chill and wind set in. We changed into dry clothes and started making our very delicious freeze-dried meals.
Most of us were tucked away in our sleeping bags by 9 pm. The next morning was going to be an early one.
We split up into three staggered hiking groups to respect other hikers and the land we hiked upon, the first group leaving at 6:30 am the next morning. Not even twenty minutes into the hike to Mt. Langley's summit, trees and shrubs melted away leaving the timberline behind. The Martian landscape surrounded us as we climbed switchback after switchback, making our way to New Army Pass.
Up and up we went, crossing New Army Pass to the base of Mt. Langley where the trail became much steeper, gaining 1500 feet in a mile and a half.
A couple thousand feet and very little oxygen later, we made it to the windy top of Mt. Langley ready for summit beers. The wind was cold and relentless, so we sheltered behind rocks to nosh and celebrate as much as our energy levels would allow us.
The views were expansive, robbing us of what little breath we had left at the 14,000 foot elevation. A panoramic scene of the Eastern Sierras surrounded us, including Mt. Langley's sister and the tallest mountain in the lower 48, Mt. Whitney, that stood large and proud just across the valley that lay below the sheer cliffs of Mt. Langley. As we all stood there together lifting our Trailmixer and California Pride flags, we knew we had just accomplished something great. We had summited Mt. Langley to raise money for underserved LGBTQ+ youth so they can safely access inclusive outdoor spaces and experiences, so that they may also conquer mountains and summits that bring us memories and friends for a lifetime. All of the training, the sore knees, cut up legs and hands, sweaty palm-inducing cliffsides, and strained lungs were all worth it for the views and the experience, but most importantly the cause that brought all of us here together.