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Left Paradise just a little past 10 A.M. Sunday7/8/08 under a clear sky with no wind, 50 degrees headed for camp at Muir. Between 8,000 and 10,000 feet the temp dropped over 15 degrees and the wind increased from zero to 35 + . Arrived at Muir about 3 decided to take shelter in the hut till the wind would allow us to set up the tent. By 4 all five in my group had arrived at the shelter, which we had all to ourselves. At 5:30 another group of 5 locals showed up. The wind never slowed and since only 10 people were in the shelter We decided to spend the night in the hut, spend the next day resting and try the Gib chute the next night.
Monday June 8: At 7 a.m. the winds were between 30 and 50 mph. making putting the tent up near impossible especially with the spindrift. Since the weather appeared to be getting worse 3 from my group wanted to go down along with the 5 locals. My partner and I had more time and decided to wait it out sill hoping for a summit bid, after all we would have the hut to ourselves. At 10:00 all eight of them packed up and headed out they all came back in the hut 5 minutes later after the climbing ranger advised them attempting to go down in near white out conditions. Between 5:00 pm and 9:30 pm 23 people showed up in the hut including two hypothermic/frostbite people who left Paradise under poor conditions (heavy rain, poor visibility, high winds, which means realllllly bad conditions higher up. Three people showed up at around 6:30 with no sleeping bags or food (they were planning on going straight back down. All three were like everyone else who just arrived (lucky) soaked, frozen and confused. Conditions were now complete whiteout in 50-70 mph. winds. We advised them to stay, they refused. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-hikers12-2008jun12,0,5906441.story
Hard to get any sleep in a hut with 30 people crammed in with stoves running all the time and in all places so at 6 am. My partner decided to leave for Paradise. The ranger advised us of a lost father son team so we went down hoping to find them. Visibility was between 40 and 100 feet with the 20 to 30 mph wind at our back. We broke trail sometimes up to our chest checking in on three different parties that were dug in on the snowfield. The rest of my group and the five locals were and hour behind and managed to catch up to us.
I have summated Rainier in a number of different conditions with good weather and bad but, never in winter before. I have a whole new respect for those who have.
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