It all started on April 11, 2008. I drove up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood for the first time to grab dinner and watch the sunset with my fiancé. After enjoying the meal, I took off solo above the lodge with my camera to take a few shots of Hood as the sun went down.
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. 27 at the time, I had never felt much inclination to hike, and absolutely no urge to climb.
And then something inexplicable occurred. For lack of a better word, the mountain "spoke" to me. As alpenglow radiated off the upper slopes, I was overwhelmed by a feeling that I needed to climb it.
The following Monday I went to work, told my friends what happened, and soon made a reservation with Timberline Mountain Guides for a small group of us to scale Hood's south side that June. After a few months of training and an incredible climb, some of us were hooked and wanted to do more.
The next summer, we decided to climb five mountains - Hood, St. Helens, Adams, South Sister, and Rainier - and the "Pentaquest" was born. In the years since, the tradition of reaching five summits annually has continued and many others have joined the group. Some are only able to go on one training hike, while others climb several of the higher peaks...but all are part of the Pentaquest.
- Dan Douthit