Once you see Rainier, if you have the slighest disposition toward adventure, you have to climb it, and, having lived in its literal shadow for two years, I did. Twice. Or at least I tried.
The first time was in 1994, as part of a (too-) large party up the Emmons-Winthrop route. We got to 13,700ft., could see the rocks on the crater rim, and turned around. The descent was where most of my memories come from, and I have a trip report I wrote from two perspectives--mine and my rope-team member's. (The names of the others have been change to protect the, er, innocent.)
The second time was five years later, in 1999, when I went up the Disappointment Cleaver, solo and successfully. That climb was all about the back-story, for me. An (off-site) trip report can be found here and here.
Brother Mark and I summited via the DC. Warm day with high freezing level made for a beautiful early a.m. climb but a hot and slippery descent (especially on the Cleaver itself). Awsome mountain!
Nearly 10 years to the week from my first attempt, I summitted in perfect conditions. Som blue ice near the top, and we took a little too long to get down (post-hole city), but other than that, it was a nice clean route and some beautiful weather. Good times. Pulled off one crazy glissade back down the Interglacier...
My team summited Mount Rainier this past week by way of the D.C route. Our summit team included Bob McCullar, Russell McCullar and myself. The day we left Camp Muir (May 23) REI turned 3 ropes teams back due to a wind slab at about 12400 ft. Our team left Muir and set up a high camp at Ingram Flats. We left Ingram at 3 am on the 24th and Summited in six hours. The slab didn't look like it was in any immeadiate danger of releasing but it should be noted by other teams. After reacing the crater rim we rested and descended back down the DC. Once back at Ingram we packed our site and went back down to Paradise. The total time of decent wasabout 4 hours.
We were awakened in our tent at Camp Muir at 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM and 4:30 Am by guided parties getting ready to leave. We didn't get away until after 7:00 and worried that we were being foolish for the late start. But one by one those guided parties came by us on their way down in defeat as we ascended. We summitted a little before 2:00 PM, the only party to summit that day from Camp Muir.
My two buddies, Scott Patterson and Clay Parks, and I reached the summit in a GALE. Started out from Ingraham Flats. It began as a very calm night, then the wind and clouds blew in at about 3 a.m., just as we reached the top of the cleaver. I kept wondering when it would get bad enough to force us to turn around. Then, at about 4:30 or so, it hit me: We weren't turning around. The winds on the crater rim must have been around 70 mph. Our eyelashes were frosted. But boy, were we happy. We had the summit to ourselves but ran into a ton of climbers on the way down. I was surprised and pleased to find three teams of guided climbers behind us. By 10 a.m., the weather was clearing and stayed beautiful for the next several days. No regrets about summitting in bad weather. It added to the drama.
Wet and cloudy below, but broke above the clouds at about 10000, and it was all blue skies from there. Absolutely beautiful.
Awesome climb. We were blessed with clear weather for the summit, but it was unseasonably cold.
Because of the lack of acclimization, I experienced my first case of altitude sickness. I don't recommend it. It makes you stupid.
Left Muir Camp at 12:30 am and were on the summit at 6:30 am. Clear sky's up high. Nice view.
Magnificent mountain, great climb.
First climbed Rainier via Emmons Glacier in 2000. We made it a three day trip. First night spent at Glacier Basin, second night at Emmons Flats, and summit on third day and hike all the way out.
Second summit of Rainier via DC in June 2001. Spending one night in Muir.
Third summit of Rainier was again by Emmons Glacier in July 2002.
We have always had beautiful weather on summit days. We've been lucky! This year, I would like to try Kautz Glacier or Gibraltor Ridge.
best trip on rainier ever
Late June of '84 attempted Liberty Ridge with John Pfieffer-Spent 3 days tent bound on the Carbon Glacier. Backed out and drove around the mountain, waited a few days for the weather to change and climbed the Emmons Glacier Route. Returned in early June of '87, again with John Pfieffer, and climbed Liberty Ridge to the summit. Returned again in '89 to hike to the summit of Burroughs Mtn. from Glacier Basin with my wife Trudi. Fantastic views of Rainier from its summit.
Climbed with RMI on the 5 day seminar. RMI did a great job helping me learn the skills to feel comfortable on the mountain.
Great Mountain, but weather was bad until we came back down in the Ingrham flats. I just followed the crowds to the top.
Glacier was so broken up late in the year that crevasses were more common than snow. Numerous groups told us thier guides had fallen on on our way up. No problems for us though, besides the wind. It shredded my Mountain Hardwear tent while we made our summit run.
I had beautiful weather and great day's to take a long and winding route up Rainer
Having flown in and out of Seattle many times, I had this mountain on my list for a few years before I got up it. I met 3 other people over the years who were also interested in doing it, Steve, Pete and Chris. Steve had been up the E/W route before and was our leader from the training right through to the summit. We got to Camp Schurman without incident only to find a pretty good snow storm greeting us so we melted ice and settled in to our tents, thinking that we might have to use one of our cushion days to wait the storm out. I woke up at 10PM and looked out to see clear skies, the Liberty Ridge in the moonlight and Seattle glowing through the clouds below us. We got going around 1AM and were breaking trail through 8 inches of new snow. When the alpenglow hit us and we looked back towards the sun, it brought tears to my eyes. I had never seen anthing so beautiful. We crossed the bergschrund without incident but were warned by the rangers passing us that the bridge would probably collapse by the time we re-crossed it coming down. I was surprised at how big the crater was on Columbia Crest. On our way down the rangers warning came true as 3 out of 4 in our group fell in to the crevasse with a 200 foot fall below us. Well, Pete was last on the rope tried to jump across the void. He failed and bounced off the wall of the crevasse. We got him out, got back down to high camp and then had the pleasure of watching all the other teams follow the route that we had put up earlier in the day. Definitely one of the most amazing days of my life. If you have not climbed this mountain, you should.
A couple of weeks before I was drafted into the army, my family went to Mount Rainier National Park. Here I confronted the most beautiful mountain I had seen since I climbed the Grand Teton in 1950. Rather than rock, Rainier presented me with my first experience using crampons on ice. I met the Whittaker twins, both who towered above my six feet. They were the official Rainier guides. They alternated conducting alpine amateurs like me to the 14,411 crest of the volcanic peak. I put out $40 and drew Lou as my climbing guide. Jim was to conduct the easier snow cave tour which my younger sister took. The next day Lou, I and three others hiked up to Camp Muir above ten thousand feet where we spent the night. Early the next day we were all roped together climbing around a huge crevasse and up along some cliffs to the edge of an ice fall. Slowly Lou led us up a snowy ravine that led to a long icy slope and to the rim of the crater. By then the wind had picked up and on a level spot we all agreed to stop a couple of hundred feet short of the actual summit well off to left of us. I remember that the highest point was called Columbia Crest or Point Columbia. The weather was clear and we could see every peak in the Cascade Range including Mount Saint Helens whose classic white cone was then fifteen hundred feet higher than it is now.
Nine years later I rejoiced when I read that Lou's brother, Jim, became the first American to climb Mount Everest. In 1975, Lou appeared in Gainesville, Florida, on a book tour. I invited him home for lunch and showed him the slides I took of him wrapped snugly in his white parka hood on Rainier. He was then preparing an expedition to climb K2. I wished then I had the time and means to go with him. However I was 42-years-old and out of shape, too poor and too lazy after having climbed in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru, attaining the summit of Vallunaraju and getting high on Huascaran four years before.
The final slog across the crater was a surprise.