Tiefort Mountain is the largest mountain at Fort Irwin, and its 5,063 feet of desert beauty has provided many hikers and climbers the opportunity to scale its rocky slopes and take in the panoramic view of the valley floor. Â For the boys of Fort Irwinâ€™s Boy Scout Troop 67, this challenge was no different from previous climbs and all were eager to take on the mountain. Traditionally, the troop has arrived the night before the climb to establish a base camp and pack gear and water containers for the morning climb.Â This year, though, the Fort Irwin scouts hosted Troop 622 from Simi Valley, Calif., to build camaraderie, friendships, and participate in a rewarding climb up our mountain.
â€œBeing able to have another scout troop climb with us allowed our troop to learn about their experiences and expand our knowledge of scouting,â€ said Jeffrey Paulin, senior patrol leader of Troop 67.Â After arriving late at night, both troops settled by the camp fire and enjoyed a traditional Boy Scout social event known as a Cracker Barrel. Â The eveningâ€™s light snack was a camping favorite of sâ€˜mores along with sharing stories about scouting adventures.
Even before the sun rose on April 7, the scouts and adult leaders were making final preparations for the annual climb.Â All climbers carried all their own water (four quarts), food, and trail mix.Â Given the large number of scouts in both troops, a challenge was establishing ability groups.Â All the climbers were separated into three groups, with the stronger of the groups departing the base camp at 7 a.m.Â It did not take long for the climbers to realize that this was not a normal hike and the steep rocky slopes were very difficult.Â Each ridge seemed to make the summit even further away.
The first NASA site was a welcome break for the climbers to catch their breath and get few pictures of the surrounding desert valley and of Fort Irwin.Â The mountain did get the best of a couple of the climbers and they had to turn back.Â By the time the scouts started the second leg of the climb, the sun was high in the sky and the temperature was rising.Â At this point, some scouts and adults realized that they did not bring any sunscreen and their backpacks were packed with the wrong items.Â This was a hard lesson learned, since they had to carry everything they brought up the mountain.Â The boy leaders of Troop 67 vowed to have equipment inspections prior to departing in the future.Â While each climber was checked for the water and food, making sure non-essential equipment was left at camp did not get checked.
At the summit, a feeling of great accomplishment was experienced by all.Â The scouts bonded and worked as a team to encourage each other to keep climbing, impressive for a group of boys who had met only the previous evening.
â€œI am extremely proud of our scouts and how they overcame their fears and defeated Tiefort Mountain,â€ said Joseph Paulin, assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 67.
Heading back down was even more challenging with all the loose rock, fatigue, and the heat of the day.Â As the climbers returned to the camp, a barbecue was prepared for them by the scoutmaster of Troop 67, Joseph Eyre.Â For their victory meal, each climber got all the hamburgers, hotdogs, and cold water they wanted.Â Ample shade was provided so the climbers could eat and tell tall tales about their experience.Â The Scouts from Troop 622 received a National Training Center Chief of Staff coin for their accomplishment.Â Scouts from Troop 67 will be presented a coin at their next Court of Honor.