It isn't very satisfying to write about a mountain we failed to summit but after all the deaths this year it doesn't bother me to admit we were overly cautious. The weather was great and there was no reason for us to not have summited. But because we got a late start from Muir (2:02 am) and sat in a traffic jam on Ingram Flats (for over an hour) there was no way we were going to make it up and back in a reasonable amount of time.
Words of advice:
Don't leave after the RMI guide groups;
Try to sleep more than 2 hours (six would have been nice);
Don't expect to be able to pass other rope teams on the glacier (if it is sketchy, people will be using running belays and moving very slowly over narrow snow bridges, so you have to wait your turn);
Boil your drinking water before, not after cooking beans and rice in your pot;
Safety first, using every piece of protection and all the running belays is slow but it beats falling off the mountain;
Use lots and lots of sunscreen;
Remember to save some energy for the decent. If you burn yourself out on a push to the summit and have nothing left, getting back through the Ingram Glacier and Cathedral Gap will not be fun or safe.
I will be back next year for another attempt and I will have learned a lot from this year's mistakes...
an epic...i'll have to write a trip report for this one. 3+ feet of snow, wind, 36 hours in a tent at high camp, incredible descent w/ near-death avalanche incident along the way, and more. The mountain really kicked our ass...
very nice trip, not many people. The route was in surprisingly good shape for this late in the season. Unusually cold weather for this time of year and some snowfall overnight - didnt cause any problems, but enough to make the mountain look white, pristine and very alpine in character. Camped up near the summit - the overnight temperature dropped to about -15 fahrenheit (MINUS fifteen, thats right) but there was no wind at all so it wasnt too bad.
Climbed Gib Ledges the day before, today had much better weather. Ingraham Direct was in great shape.
Gib Ledges was in good shape, but the weather deteriorated above 13,000 feet.
My first 14'er. Also where I realised that altitude sickness feels a lot like mono.
I managed to avoid contracting High Altitiude Espresso Edema on this, my second attempt to conquer the mountain
I even managed to avoid betting mashed or swallowed whole by my mutinous climbing partners who were crazed for starch and carbs!
Perseverance pays off - read all about my adventures by checking out Washington State in the Travel Archive of my website: www.spudstravels.com
This was my first real mountaineering experience. Attended RMI Expedition Seminar and spent five days on the mountain. Had perfect weather and an overall GREAT experience! Views of Adams, St. Helens, Hood, and Jefferson fueled the fire to return for more!
Our group did not stay at Camp Muir and instead made camps on the Muir Snowfield @ ~7,700' & 9,600' Camp Protectio ("Camp Condom"). Both are excellent sites if it is desired to avoid the crowds at Camp Muir.
A wonderful trip, I will definitely be making more attempts!
Climbed to the summit via the DC route on August 9, 1969. I have posted the whole story under trip reports as "5 days on the mountain" I'm now currently converting my slides via scanner to digital and the pics I have posted are easily seen by clicking on my name at the top of this entry. I know this is truly ancient history, but a climb to the summit of Rainier is for many of us, one of the most memorable events we can be involved in.
More pics to come as I get them scanned.
Tried it once by the Ingraham direct, making it to the summit crater, but no Columbia Crest. This was in December, the wind was screaming, knocking us all over. Of our party of four, 3 of us got light frostbite on faces, toes, or fingers. I just got over the flu, and was too weak to cross the summit crater. How pathetic.
Tried it twice by the old tried and true Camp Muir DC slog. First in early March, saw a massive avalanche sweep off the Wilson headwall, got spooked and turned around. Second time in August, nasty thunderstorms chased us back after crossing the Cathedral rocks.
Tried it twice by the Kautz Glacier, both times in June, the supposedly best time to attempt Rainier. Yeah, whatever, weather nailed us both times, never been above camp Hazard, though the route up the Kautz to Hazard is a lot more fun and direct.
Trying to work up the willpower to give a 6th attempt.
Great experiance and one of the best sunrises ever. Climbed with the Climb for Clean Air, raised money for the STate of Washingtons Lung Association.
Left the hut at midnight and was on top by 7am.. got very cold toward sunrise, reccomend a down jacket in your ruck sack to use when you make stops.
Oh, lost a water bottle in a cravasse, in a black OR waterbottle parka. If anyone finds it, will you please email me to return? Thanks!
This is a great mountain and cant wait to go back and try other routes... anyone intersted......?
Read my detailed, introspective trip report here:
This was a good alternative route for the D.C. route. We had good weather, except for fairly strong winds for 2 out of the 3 days. We camped the first night at Curtis, then had a very short hike up to Schurman, which made for an easy day before our summit attempt. Strong winds made reaching the summit a real struggle. After a long hike back to The White River Campground, we were all pretty exhausted & quite ready for a good Mexican dinner!
Climbed in a one day push leaving paradise at about 11pm. Left Camp Muir by 2:30am, summit by 8:00 or so and back down to Paradise by afternoon. Long day, but easier with 15 - 20lb packs than the normal style of 2-3 day assaults.
It was a dream come true and possibly the most physically challenging thing I have ever done in my life. I loved every moment of it!
Started out Friday evening, camped near the head of Glacier Basin. Hiked up to Camp Schurman Saturday, then Summitted on Sunday. A clear, sunny day and the best glissade ever from 12,500' back to high camp, and all the way down Interglacier...made possible by unusually heavy snowfall.
My first big mountain climb, I headed up the Furhur Finger with a more experienced partner but still made lots of newbie mistakes - his headlamp batteries died, I forgot to sunscreen the underside of my nose, we burned our water (which tastes terrible, so we ended up dehydrated). Climbing the finger before sunrise was amazing because we were in the middle of a meteor shower, and I saw a few every time I looked up. My strongest impression of the climb was that although this is supposedly the "most direct route to the summit from paradise" it kept going, and going, and going. I was beat by the summit. Clouds came in and we had 0 visibility on the summit, and ended up traversing around the summit crater for a while 'till we found the trough from the DC route. After dropping our packs for the quick jaunt to the summit register, we did a carry-over, and ended up descending the DC route.
The second time I climbed Rainier, I was still eager to avoid the crowds on the DC route, but I wanted to see some new routes, so we decided to head up the Kautz Glacier. The Nisqually Glacier was too broken up to cross that late in the season, so we ended up going from Van Trump falls instead. We camped below Camp Hazard (the picture), which was a good thing because just as we were settling in, a train-car sized block of ice calved off the Kautz and fell right on Camp Hazard.
The next morning, rather than losing altitude by dropping into the normal route chute to the west of Camp Hazard, we decided to play with our ice axes a bit and try a direct route up the glacier, to the East. After seeing the ice calf off the previous evening, we didn't screw around under that cliff, but it was some fun technical ice. Once we were up on the Kautz Glacier proper, we decided to deviate west from the normal route to summit via Point Success. It made the top snow fields a bit longer and a bit steeper, but pretty gratifying. Once again, climbing in August, we ditched the tent but did a carryover with our sleeping bags and other gear, descending via the DC route.
I will always think that the hardest part of climbing Rainier is those wooden steps on the way back down into paradise - they're always just not quite the right size for me to take two steps, and too big for one.
Had looked forward to climbing this mountain for a few years and wanted to make sure that I was successful, so we decided to ensure our success by taking a slow approach. I had just climbed Shasta three weeks before and felt very strong in doing so after being turned around last year due to fatigue. My partners and I drove up to the mountain and stayed the night in the Cougar campground and got a early start. OUr plan was to go to Camp Muir eventhough we did not have a camping permit until the next night but we thought we would give it a try anyways. After a few hours with the ever so heavy packs we were at Anvil Rock and decided to go ahead and make a camp there. We found a little shelter out of the wind and settled down to a good nights rest.
The next morning we were up and out of there and at Camp Muir in about an hour. We scoped our camping prospects and set up our tents and waited for the rest of our party to join us. Around noon they began arriving and we helped them with their setups since they had come all the way from Paradise they were feeling it a little more than we were. After discussion on our plan we decided to continue to take it easy and move to Ingraham flats the next day.
The next morning we broke down camp and roped up. This was the first time that I had ever crossed glaciers and found it exhilerating. We had two rope teams the first with four and ours with three. I brought up the rear just so I could watch what was going on. About two hours later we were at the flats. It was somewhat crowded so we had to dig out our own tent platforms. Nothing like work at 11000'. Our plan was to head out at midnight in hopes of beating the RMI teams that were coming from Camp Muir.
Midnight came way too fast because I was sleeping like a baby but nonetheless was fired up to get going. Weather looked outstanding and there was only a slight breeze. We began pretty strong as we traversed across the Ingraham Glacier and gained the Cleaver. It was pretty cool watching the sparks come off of the crampons as we negotiated the rocks. By the time we had reached the top of the cleaver I was feeling strong and wanted to move quicker but I was last on theline so I found it hard to get into a rhythm. The wind had started to pick up and our breaks became shorter. At about 13500' the middle man in our rope team began to struggle. I watched him weave all over the place and became somewhat concerned. I took the picket he was carrying as well as spare water that he had in hopes of lightening his load wchich seemed to help him some. In addition I took in some of the rope so that I could coach him along. Unfortunately he continued to get worse. We were forced to stop. Our other rope tema was ahead of us by 10 minutes or so and we let them know our situation. We decided that we would stake him off and pick him up on the way down. He really didn't like this idea but we wanted to summit and the risk was minimal. After some continued coaxing and shear determination he got up and continued on. Shortly after we gained the crater im. We could see our party on the other side. We radioed them and they had been waiting for us so that we could all summit together at the same time-what a team! 15 minutes later we were standing on Columbia crest 14411'. We were the first group to summit that day and had it to ourselves. I was somewhat disappointed by how easy it had been for me but I had worked hard all season climbing and getting in shape. After pictures were taken and the celebratory Tibetan prayer flags were unrolled we descended back down to our camp at Ingraham Flats. After resting for a few hours, I decided I wanted to explore some. I set up an anchor and was going to rappel down into a huge crevasse and then prussik out but my activity intrigued my team mates and we ended up hauling each other up with a 9:1 pulley system. What an experience!
The next morning we broke camp and roped up to descend down to Camp Muir where we unroped. It was cool to be able to say that we had summited as people asked as we came down. What a Fourth of July Weekend!
Climbed to the summit with RMI Guides Alex Van Steen, Dave Hanning, and Ryan McGriff as part of a 6-day Expedition Seminar.
After a day of practicing cramponing and self-arrest techniques, we set off from Paradise with 50-60 lb packs. We made slow progress up the Muir Snowfield and crossed over onto the Paradise Glacier to establish our first camp at about 8,700 ft. At this camp, we got some practice building various types of snow anchors with an abundance of criticism from Alex.
The next day we moved up to Camp Muir, where we roped up and headed up over Cathedral Rocks. Upon reaching Ingraham Flats, we dropped down onto the Emmons Glacier and established our second camp at 10,600 ft. Our team was contemplating a summit attempt up the Emmons Shoulder, so we spent the afternoon scouting the route and kicking steps up the steep sections which we'd be faced with in the early-morning cold.
When we got back down to camp, several members of our team felt they were too tired to attempt the summit the next morning, so we elected to take a rest day for Crevasse Rescue training and general lounging. It was a good day. That night we had a meeting to discuss our plans for the summit. We decided to abandon the Emmons Shoulder, since we were uncertain of the condition on the upper portion of the route. Instead, we decided to climb the Emmons Glacier and traverse across to join DC from the opposite side from which it is usually approached.
The traverse and climb up to DC proved treacherous and required a running belay to protect against a fall into the GAPING crevasses directly below. Getting up onto the Cleaver involved some steep climbing over very loose scree. We all took a much needed rest upon gaining the Cleaver.
We then followed DC up to 12,500 ft where we exited onto the Ingraham Glacier to follow the Normal Route to the summit. Being late in the season, there were lots of exposed crevasses spanned by metal ladders. Our whole team reached the summit and then descended the Ingraham Direct route to our high camp.
The next day we spent some time ice climbing in the giant crevasses on Ingraham Flats before returning to Paradise.
The next day, I started hiking on the Wonderland Trail and completed the circuit in 9 days.