Although she can't stop the occasional freak blizzard at Mount Shasta, mountaineer Mary Hataway's plan to remember those who died Sept. 11 by placing their names at the tops of California's highest peaks is seeing success.
Reaching into the skies at altitudes of 14,000 feet or greater, four mountains tops in California's Palisade range now securely hold a U.S. flag protecting the names of those who died.
Placed in a Ziploc bag in the summit box, a sticker on the outside reads: "In memory of the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on America. Our thoughts and prayers are with you on this day, September 11, 2002."
Hataway came up with the idea after reading about similar climbs in Colorado in a magazine.
Bob Pickering, of International Gaming Technology, led a group into the Palisade range, climbing Starlight, North Palisade, Polemonium and Sill peaks.
"We survived," he said. "It was very successful. We did one day in, and four of us got the four peaks in one day. It's unusual to get all four peaks in one day. It was a very very long day."
The group took photos at the tops of the peaks, with a different person holding a slightly larger U.S. flag than the one placed in the box.
"I think we got pretty decent pictures on Starlight, North Palisades and Polemonium peaks," Pickering said. "By the time I got the camera to the top of Mount Sill, the sun was just going down. I got pictures of the flag and the register box. "
Pickering led a group of nine on different peaks throughout the weekend. The trip was planned previous to Hataway's call.
"It kind of added something to an already pretty spectacular climb," he said, adding that everyone who started up a summit made it, and there were no turn-backs.
In addition to Pickering's team climb, a group attempted Mount Shasta this past weekend, but a blizzard struck.
"This time of year Shasta is usually a gimmie," said Pickering, "but they got one of those days it's not. It's an altitude mountain and a weather mountain."
Hataway said the Shasta Mountain team will attempt the mountain again within the next two weeks.
She is planning to attempt Mount Russell or the Middle Palisades this weekend with some friends, leaving today and coming back Saturday or Sunday.
"I'm exhausted, but I feel great," Hataway said. "A whole bunch of super nice people have called and offered to help. One lady offered to cook and drive. One man is climbing Mount Hood, Rainier, and Albert, and asked for flags. People are so respectful and they care."
Hataway was even contacted by a local Boy Scout Troop whose members are planning to climb Nevada's highest peaks, all under 14,000 feet, in commemoration of 9-11.
CALIFORNIA'S 15 HIGHEST PEAKS
PALISADES (part of the Sierra)
Starlight: 14,200 ft. -- COMPLETE
North Palisade: 14, 242 ft. -- COMPLETE
Polemonium: 14, 200 ft. -- COMPLETE
Sill: 14,162 ft. -- COMPLETE
Thunderbolt: 14,003 -- TO BE ATTEMPTED SOON
Split: 14,058 ft. -- To be completed
Middle Palisades: 14,040 ft. -- attempt set for this weekend
OTHERS MOUNTAINS IN THE SIERRA
Langley: 14, 027 ft. -- To be completed
Muir: 14,015 ft. -- To be completed
Whitney: 14, 495 ft. -- To be completed
Russell: 14, 086 ft. -- attempt set for this weekend
Williamson: 14,375 ft. -- Closed, due to bighorn sheep
Tyndall: 14,015 ft. -- To be completed
OTHER MOUNTAINS IN CALIFORNIA
White Mountain: 14,246 ft. -- To be completed
Shasta Mountain: 14,162 ft. -- To be completed
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