Naselle 13-year-old conquers Mt. Hood

<I>Photo provided</I><BR>Tasha Stenvall climbed Mt. Hood last month with her dad, Charley. It was the second climb the pair has made, as they ascended Mt. Adams last summer. "I was tired, cranky, really achy, and it was the proudest moment of my life," she said when she reached the summit.

MT. HOOD, Ore. - Thirteen-year-old Tasha Stenvall successfully climbed Oregon's Mt. Hood last month, her second major climb with father Charley in two summers, as the pair scaled Mt. Adams in August 2006.

"There wasn't much oxygen, my legs burned, it was dark, I hurt so much I started crying," Tasha related in a story she wrote of her climb that began at 1 a.m.

Tasha had trained by working out, running two miles every other day and being on the swim team.

"Part way up we took a break and I fired up on chocolate and jerky. I was OK for awhile, and then I started the crying business again." Charley told his daughter, "Reach down and get a hold of your inner burliness."

When daylight came and Tasha had some Gatorade she even began to tell stories.

"Suddenly I realized we only had two more segments to climb before the summit, but they would be the most difficult. We had more Gatorade and jerky and pretty soon it got really silent as everyone concentrated on putting the left foot forward, then the right."

Tasha remembers Greg, the guide, announcing there were only 100 more feet to Hog's Back Ridge.

"I had no clue how hard that 100-foot climb would be until I had to do it," Tasha said. "And the sulfur smell was horrible. When I realized it was another hour's climb to the summit I almost barfed."

She could have stayed while the other men on the climb, all at least 30 years older than Tasha, went for the summit. Tasha challenged her dad, "If you eat this last nasty bagel then I'll go for the summit." Charley, "the human garbage disposal" according to his daughter, ate the bagel and Tasha continued on. "Actually the last hour wasn't too bad because we were all tied together while going up a rock wall. When we got to the top I almost was blown off the two-foot ledge by wind that was blowing at 30 miles per hour."

She said, "I was tired, cranky, really achy, and it was the proudest moment of my life." The way down was a joy ride as Tasha and Charley glissaded most of the way at a bristling 10 miles per hour. Tasha described glissading as, "sliding down the mountain on your butt, an exhilarating feeling once you get past the ice inside your clothes."

At the bottom Tasha calculated that the climb had taken 11 hours and 14 minutes. "That was about how long I slept the next day," she joked. Tasha is the daughter of Charley and Deborah Stenvall of Naselle. There was no word of what climbing adventures she and her dad might try next summer.

-Kevin Heimbigner

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