In June of 2001, Alex and Jim invited me to attempt Mt. Rainier with them. The plan was to
complete a conditioning hike in early June to Camp Muir and back, and then make
the summit on a trip 2 weeks later. The second trip we would hike to Muir,
acclimate for a day, and then attempt the summit on the second night. Once
we took care of our permits, we headed up around 11:30 in the morning. We
got to Muir around 6:30, which was over an hour slower then our first
conditioning hike - what a difference a rope, and food makes! After
setting up camp, we settled in for a nice snooze into the next day. The
word wasn't good from the parties that attempted that morning - the avalanche
hazard from spring storm a few days earlier was turning everyone back.
This turned out to be the case from the next morning also, so we had to abort
our attempt. Below are some pictures Alex took with his digital camera...
break out of Paradise -
The weather at Paradise was pretty gloomy, around 50 degrees, and
overcast. The promise was for the clouds to break at around 9,000
feet. Here we take a break to adjust clothing layers, and to
of the clouds...
- Almost on cue at
9,200 feet, we break out of the clouds, and get our first glimpse of the
summit for this day. Camp Muir is barely visible at the edge of the
shadow. Because of the slope, it feels like it takes forever to make
this last 900 feet vertical to Muir!
accommodations... - In
order to save weight, we all cram into Alex's tent. While cozy, it
was also warm. Constant wind during the first night (and I think the
10,000 foot elevation) made sleeping difficult though. Here, Jim is
caught snoozing during our acclimation day...
- Since we weren't able to climb due to avalanche conditions, we ended up
just taking in the sites around Camp Muir. This shot is of Mount
Adams to the south...
These other shots were taken while
Shelter Ranger Station... Here is a shot of the ranger
station at the camp.
shelters... The MRI shelters were for those using the MRI
camp with the summit in the background... Once two thirds
the way up the mountain at Muir, you start to get the perspective of
just how big this mountain really is!
route to Disappointment Cleaver... Ingraham Flats lie just
on the other side of this gap. We had thought of setting our
camp there, but since it took us longer than anticipated to get to
Muir, we dropped the idea.
toilets... These toilets use solar energy to evaporate as
much material as possible. The remainder is flown out via helicopter.
You definitely want to check the prevailing winds before you
set up camp.
cooking breakfast with Jim... There was still enough snow to
carve out a very comfortable
area to cook. Mount St. Helens is on the horizon in the
kitchen... A closer look at my cooking facilities...
view from our doorstep towards Mount Adams... The weather at
Muir was stellar the entire time we were up, except for some wind in
the evenings. The clouds stayed at around 9,000 feet to whole
time. This view shows how the camps are dug in to the various
snow banks. Things get pretty hectic at around midnight, the
traditional time for starting the summit accent.
Back to Tom in the mountains...