Spud leads his team across the ruptured Cowlitz Glacier
Spud checks his navigation in order to find a safe route up the mountainThe push for the summit

Early the next morning Spud and the remaining climbers began the long climb to the summit. Along the way, there would be many objective hazards to deal with. The first came when the team was crossing the crevasse-ruptured Cowlitz Glacier. The dry, hot summer had badly mutilated the ice and huge gaping cracks were everywhere. Although the team was very cautious in determining a safe passage across the icefield, the lead guide fell through a snow bridge and into the great gaping mouth of a crevasse. Spud dove to the ground and quickly arrested the man's fall. He then proceeded to anchor himself and set up a complex z-pulley system to extract the dazed climber from the jaws of the ice. 

The rest of the rope team looked on in awe as the tater took command of the dangerous situation. Suffering from hypoxia, the guide was unable to continue and asked Spud if he was up to guiding the rest of the team toward the summit. Brimming with confidence, the tater agreed and began finding a new route across the glacier.

With topo map in one hand and a compass in the other, the potato carefully studied the harsh landscape, and then began to lead the team through the dangerous labyrinth of crystal chasms.

Click for the full size map!Spud battles the fierce gales of blowing snowAs the team crossed the Cowlitz Glacier and through the scree moraine of Cadaver Gap, the weather rapidly turned a brilliant cobalt blue sky to one smothered by ominous, snow-filled clouds. The potato had to quicken the pace of the team if there was to be any chance at reaching the summit.

While crossing the even larger Ingraham Glacier, in virtually blinding whiteout conditions, members of Spud's rope team began to give up one by one; surrendering to the toils of exhaustion. Fortunately for Spud, he had no internal organs to exhaust, and his extra thick peel served well to protect him from the biting cold wind.

After traversing the mammoth Ingraham, the potato began the treacherous ascent up the steep rock face of Disappointment Cleaver. The tension on his rope was light, as he found that he was the only one tied into it. His team members had all submitted to defeat.

Undaunted, the potato laboured up the rocky crag and battled the fierce gales of blowing snow. At the top of the cleaver, Spud realized that he had no feeling in his nose or in his feet. A feeling of dread and panic overwhelmed him as he thought that he had suffered severe frostbite. Reality set in a few moments later when he remembered that his nose and feet were plastic and thus, had no nerve endings.

Spud reaches the 14411 foot summitRelieved by his realization, the tuber scampered up the steep traverse of the final 2100 feet and to the summit of the 14411 foot giant of the Cascades. Planting his flag to signify his achievement, the tuber planned to celebrate the moment by sucking back a can of Rainier beer. Unfortunately, the intense cold had frozen the can as solid as a hunk of granite, which coincidentally, does have about as much taste as the beer anyway.      





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