More like Panic Attack.

It’s 2.5 weeks to Rainier.

I’m as trained as I’m going to be, given shoulder/back issues that have prevented a nice variety of cross training. But Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Camp Muir 2x are all under my belt and I did pretty good on each one.

All my fundraising money has come in, plus some – $4,085!  – thanks to everyone out there who was gracious enough to deal with my incessant begging, pleading, dramatizing, party-throwing, cooking-baking and again, begging, tactics.

I have 99.99% of all my gear purchased, rented, borrowed and planned (except those damn hardshell pants – can’t decide if the low end Sierra Designs will suffice or I should buck up and purchase some GoreTex). (and Trekking Poles, please don’t be stubborn and please cooperate on Aug 20, ‘K?).

But there’s one piece of gear that’s got me on edge. The ONE THING I wasn’t planning on having to worry about.

The Pack. The Bloody Freakin’ Pack.

Uh, it’s kinda vital. It kinda has to hold 40 lbs of gear, fit around my small yet long torso’d frame and be comfortable. It kinda has to be an approach pack and a summit pack. It kinda has to rock on the mountain like our  all-lady team is going to do with RMI August 18-21.

My living room currently has 7 (!) packs strewn about it – ranging from one of the best on the market today to one of the best on the market from 1986 and has seen the summit of Everest. It’s nuts. They range from what seems like 100 Liters to 60 Liters in volume.

The pack i’ve been training with – The REI Valhalla – is a 60L pack (I think) that is rugged and durable. It was a gracious hand-me-down and I have learned to love it dearly like my mountaineering boots and down jacket. But within the past few months, the internal frame stays have busted out the bottom. It could cost from $60-$130 to get it fixed and it’ll probably be on the higher end because they’ll have to take apart the pack. That’s about half the cost of a new pack.

More importantly, the busted out stays interfere with my glissading abilities. That’s just damn annoying.

Given that I haven’t had to spend much moohla getting ready for this adventure as some may have, I don’t have room to bitch. But every hiker and climber knows that a good pack is like a good pair of boots – it has to be comfortable, fit right but is going to be a pain in the ass to find THE RIGHT ONE.

And do I do it now or pay the repairs? I think I know what I should do.

But … second round of pack testing will take place tonight in my living room, and we’ll hopefully see some victors …

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