Anderson University Professors Climb Mt. Adams

Mon, 2010-03-01 08:15 -- univcomm
March 1, 2010

Last fall, Drs. Doug Seelbach and Fred Miller from Anderson University’s kinesiology department decided to hike a mountain. "We are in a men’s study at Madison Park and this past year’s theme was adventure," Seelbach explained. "Someone said we should go on an adventure, climb a mountain or something, so we did." The group started planning last fall and flew to Oregon for a week in August to hike Mt. Adams. The group of men ranging in age from 33 to 62-years-old rented their equipment, met their guides and began to hike Mt. Adams.

mtadamsThe first night, the group slept at the bottom of the mountain. "You just have to clear away the big rocks and try to sleep on the little ones," Seelbach said. [Photo on left: Drs. Doug Seelbach and Fred Miller, professors in AU’s Department of Kinesiology, hiked Oregon’s Mt. Adams last August.]

The group ate dehydrated meals and drank water through a purifier. "We asked the guides if we could just drink the water straight from the ground and they said to do it at our own risk. The guides were doing it," Seelbach said, "so we figured it was safe enough."

"We had to do training with shoes that had ice picks on the bottom so we didn’t slide down the glacier," Miller explained. He was amazed at how well they worked. Four men were tied onto one rope; the guide went first in line and then the three rookies followed. "We had ice picks also so if we started to fall we could turn on our stomachs and dig the pick into the ice to stop ourselves from falling," Seelbach said.

Further on up the mountain, the group came across what they called Glacier Lake. Seelbach described the scene: "The water temperature was at about freezing. Some of the younger guys decided to get in for a minute, but you couldn’t live in there for 10 minutes. You would be numb and die. I put my foot in and it was just aching!"

Miller, who was in training for a marathon, didn’t think the climb was too hard. "The hardest part was the negative movement, where your body has to resist instead of apply pressure, on the way down, sometimes you just thought you would fall," he explained. [Photo on right: Dr. Doug Seelbach poses with his pick ax while hiking Mt. Adams. The pick axes were used to help keep the hikers from sliding down the glacier.]

Seelbach, on the other hand, talked about how climbing the mountain was all about putting one foot in front of the other. He compared it to a life lesson he was reminded of while hiking, "In life when things are hard, you have to just keep going and before long you will turn around and see how far you’ve come," said Seelbach.

Another one of the lessons Seelbach was reminded of on the trip was about the appeal of things before you get up close. "Looking at that mountain from the air and from down below it just looks so beautiful, pristine and exotic. Once you get there you think, ‘Wow, this is not what I signed up for.’ It’s dirtier and a lot harder. It’s not really as it seemed," Seelbach said.

One of Seelbach’s favorite parts was the view. Being high on the mountain, he said they could see so many more stars than at home. Both men took this time to get closer to God, spending time with Him and with their fellow hikers. "We really got to know each other better, and it made me realize I need to do that more in my daily life," Miller explained.

The trip down the mountain was much quicker even though it was harder to do. The one easy part was sitting and sliding down the ice and snow, but the problem was the rocks. "I hit one of those and thought I was going to die," Seelbach said.

Although both men enjoyed the hike, they were glad when it was over. Most of the men in the group had developed blisters and were told to cover them with duct tape. However, they only had pink duct tape on hand. By the end of the hike, their feet were mostly pink.

fmiller Miller said he would do it again only if there were some sort of competition involved. Seelbach enjoyed being outdoors and was reminded of when he and his wife led outdoor adventures in Canada. [Photo on left: The trip down the glacier was easier than the trip up because, as Dr. Fred Miller demonstrates, the hikers could just slide down. They did, however, have to be careful of the big rocks they might hit.]

Seelbach, an Anderson graduate, is in his tenth year teaching at Anderson University, while Miller is in his second.

— Elizabeth Vincent is a junior from Greenfield, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in political science. Vincent is an associate with Fifth Street Communications writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.