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Any good places to 'aclimatize' before a Rainier summit?

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Any good places to 'aclimatize' before a Rainier summit?

Postby NJTripper » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:28 am

Being a flatlander... I want to be minimize the mpact of altitude when I attempt Rainier.

Are there any accessible high-altitude camps with decent hiking opportunities in the area?

I was thinking about coming out a couple days before Rainier, camp above 9k and (maybe) bag a couple lesser peaks... all while improving my alclimatization.

Any suggestions?
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Postby Scott » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:56 am

camp above 9k and (maybe) bag a couple lesser peaks


Lunch Counter (campsite) on Mount Adams is at 9K. As long as you know how to self arrest and the weather is good, Mt. Adams via the south ridge is a farily easy ascent (in a technical sense) and doesn't require roping up.
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Postby billisfree » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:06 am

Go skiing
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Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:00 pm

I second South Spur on Mt Adams. If you are going that far south then Mt Hood will be pretty close. You could hike up the south side and camp at the Illumination Rock saddle which I think is over 9,000 ft. Also consider hiking up to camp Muir on Rainier which is at 10,000 ft.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the locals live at sea level and will go from their homes to the summit in under 24 hrs with no prior acclimatization. My feeling is that by being as fit as possible, going as light as possible, and being as hydrated as possible will give you your best shot. Certainly climbing and camping at altitude will help, just make sure you are well rested, fed, and hydrated after the acclimatization climbs before you tackle Rainier.

Best of luck!

EB
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Postby Snidely Whiplash » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:24 pm

ExcitibleBoy wrote:I second South Spur on Mt Adams. If you are going that far south then Mt Hood will be pretty close. You could hike up the south side and camp at the Illumination Rock saddle which I think is over 9,000 ft. Also consider hiking up to camp Muir on Rainier which is at 10,000 ft.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the locals live at sea level and will go from their homes to the summit in under 24 hrs with no prior acclimatization. My feeling is that by being as fit as possible, going as light as possible, and being as hydrated as possible will give you your best shot. Certainly climbing and camping at altitude will help, just make sure you are well rested, fed, and hydrated after the acclimatization climbs before you tackle Rainier.

Best of luck!

EB


ExcitableBoy is right on as far as being fit, going light, and keeping hydrated. As far as acclimatization goes, Washington State does have a disadvantage here in that so few areas of the state exceed 9,000 feet in elevation. A lot of people just hang out a day at Camp Muir (10,080 feet) or Camp Shurman (9,460 feet), depending on the route you're climbing. They use the day to practice crevasse rescue skills, melt water, and generally rest.
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Postby Snowslogger » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:53 pm

Even an extra day or two staying at Paradise in Mt. Rainier park would probably help (5,400 ft, think Denver).
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Will have to look into that...

Postby NJTripper » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:17 am

billisfree wrote:Go skiing


I've never skied in WA - and it would be a hassle to slug my gear out from NJ...

Maybe a local rental would be in order.....
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Postby NJTripper » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:20 am

Lunch Counter (campsite) on Mount Adams is at 9K. As long as you know how to self arrest and the weather is good, Mt. Adams via the south ridge is a farily easy ascent (in a technical sense) and doesn't require roping up.[/quote]

Thanks for the suggestion... I looked at the SP write-up on Adams and it looks like a good option...

Will do some more research...

Thanks!
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Postby Moni » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:42 am

When is this trip? You don't seem to indicate the dates.
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Postby Brad Marshall » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:08 am

Moni wrote:When is this trip? You don't seem to indicate the dates.


Also, are you going with a group of friends or with a guiding company?
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Postby billisfree » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:45 am

Sorry about my teasing jest about "go skiing".

Well... just about all of us on the Pacific coast face your problem. Most all of us are from the cities, Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, etc. then we have a two day weekend - to climb a mountain.

That's the norm around here.

I live at 300ft above sea level... and climbed Mt Hood (11,240ft) the next morning. I've done Mt. Adams (12,240ft) after a bivoac at 9,400 ft. Mt Adams CAN be climbed in one day from sea level and some people do. And I did Mt Shasha (14,267 ft) with a camp at 8,000 and 10,400 ft.

I normally need a week to recover afterwards because I am tired and sore.

Why can't you drive up to Palisade Inn and sleep in your car at 6,000 ft?
Climb to Camp Muir and stay two nights at Camp Muir at 10,400 ft?
It's going to be difficult to find a 9,000 ft peak to climb - most of the trail heads are snowed in.

My biggest concern is not aclimatization... but getting in shape. Aclimatization is for higher mountains.
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Postby dskoon » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:32 am

billisfree wrote:My biggest concern is not aclimatization... but getting in shape. Aclimatization is for higher mountains.


Uh, acclimatization can be fairly important on something that is 14,000+ft. Can even be important on smaller stuff, as altitude affects everyone differently.
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Postby billisfree » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:37 am

You're right dskoon... different people... different effects.

A fella who climbed the world's 3rd highest mountain describes an experience on lowly Mt. Adams. He climbed with four others. One lagged behind and couldn't keep up. Four went up and left one behind. But the fifth made it to the top 20 minutes later.

Going down... they realized the fifth wasn't with them. They had to go back and locate missing man. He was all confused, wandering off in the wrong direction. They had to turn him around and make sure he stayed with them.

It shows that even at 11,000 ft, people can get into trouble.

My son ocassionally climbs with me. He pushes hard, leaving me behind. But he always gets headaches above 8,000 ft. I never get them. Somebody said if you ascend slower, their is less risk of altitude problems.
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Postby Brad Marshall » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:02 pm

dskoon wrote:
billisfree wrote:My biggest concern is not aclimatization... but getting in shape. Aclimatization is for higher mountains.


Uh, acclimatization can be fairly important on something that is 14,000+ft. Can even be important on smaller stuff, as altitude affects everyone differently.


I agree. For most climbers altitudes in this range don't pose a serious health hazard like HAPE or HACE but it can occur and should always be on your mind. For many though these altitudes pose more of a physical difficulty on summit day. Those strong climbers on the PNW can ascend something like Rainier in two days but for many climbers the 4,000+ foot summit day after they just got to 10,000' is too much. Perhaps that's why the summit rate is only around 50% for this montain on the normal routes. A better strategy would be to climb it in three days hiking up to 12-12,500 on the second day to help acclimatization.
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Postby markv » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:27 am

For what it's worth, the Adams south side route is fairly pretty. Not that there's a thing wrong with Paradise or Camp Muir, but i would have more fun hanging out on Adams to acclimatize, getting some good grub down in Trout Lake maybe, and then heading to Rainier afterwards. I've done each peak once in the quickest fashion, and it'd be nice to spend some more time. Take advantage if you can.
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