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Physically I am nowhere near ready to climb Mt. Shasta, but in less than a month I will don crampons, ice axe and helmet and wake at 2 am to face the endless switchbacks through snow and loose volcanic rock. Leaving Horse Camp, on the way up Mt. Shasta in 2015. Photo: David Loughnot Last time I climbed, in 2015, I turned around a mere 350 feet from the summit. I had entered a grey area of the mind where your body is so cold and so tired that simply lying down to sleep, despite the likelihood that you will not get up, seems like the best idea. Turning around was the right thing to do, and every climber faces this decision a number of times on the mountain. I expect this year will be no different. What will be different is me. In October of 2015, I developed an autoimmune condition called ulcerative colitis. It presented as extreme fatigue – imagine struggling to walk six blocks to work just four months after climbing 13,000 and some feet – and various digestive co

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