When Grandview physician Dr. Martin Dubek moved to the Yakima Valley two years ago he knew there was one thing he wanted to do while he lived here. He wanted to climb Mt. Rainier.
This past Memorial Day weekend, Dubek did just that. He conquered the mountain.
Dubek and a group of nine other climbers spent three days climbing Mt. Rainier, including two days to reach the crater.
"It was a great experience," Dubek said of his climb.
Dubek, who is an avid mountain biker, explained that the group he climbed with was spearheaded by a couple of guys who work at a sporting goods in store in Tri-Cities that he frequents. He said he learned that the two were getting together a group to climb Mt. Rainier. He knew he wanted to be a part of it.
"They didn't have to tell me twice," Dubek said of the offer to join the group.
But climbing Mt. Rainier isn't something that a person does spur of the moment. Instead, Dubek said they spent a couple of months planning for the ascent.
"You want to make sure you have all the right equipment and take all of the precautions," Dubek explained.
And after two months of careful planning, the group started their climb last Friday in the parking lot of the White River area on the north side of Mt. Rainier. Dubek said the group arrived that night and spend the night there before starting off Saturday morning on their hike to Camp Sherman, which sits at more than 9,000 feet above sea level.
Dubek said the group spent the night at Camp Sherman in order to try to acclimate their bodies to the high elevation. Then at midnight they set off for the top of the mountain. Dubek explained that they left in the middle of the night to ensure that the snow would be hard, which makes climbing easier.
At about 6 a.m. last Sunday, Dubek reached the top of Mt. Rainier and was treated to some beautiful views.
"What struck me was how the big the mountain is," Dubek said. He noted that the crater is almost half a mile across. "The view was incredible up there."
Dubek said while he was climbing the one thought that kept running through his mind was, "Why am I doing this?"
"It hurts so bad," Dubek said of the climb. "But it's so beautiful up there."
But climbing to the top of the mountain was just half the battle. Dubek and the others still had to make it back down Mt. Rainier. Dubek said on the way down the mountain the snow had had a chance to soften in the morning heat and the group found themselves sludging through snow that was halfway up their legs as they made their way back to Camp Sherman. Dubek said once they reached the high camp they strapped on their skis and continued to work their way back down the mountain.
Dubek said he was so exhausted after the climb that it wasn't until several days after having made the ascent that it hit him exactly what he had managed to do over the holiday weekend.
"It's a great feeling," Dubek said. "I climbed the mountain and made it back safely."
And now that he's climbed Mt. Rainier, what does Dubek plan on doing next?
"Now I have to figure out how I'm going to climb Mt. Adams," Dubek said.