Mount Rainier, October ’01

Our second attempt of Mt. Rainier turned out to be the end of our climbing obsession. And if you believe that . .

Our trip started out with two days of acclimatizing by doing some hiking on the trails surrounding Rainier. This turned into four days as some rainy weather moved in and we were waiting to see what the accumulation of snow on the mountain would be. It turned out that it was just enough to put a fresh coat of ‘white’ above 8,000′ or so, and gave us some nice, fresh snow to melt for cooking and drinking. We started up on Saturday, arriving at Camp Muir at 10,000′ mid-afternoon. We decided to stay in the public bunkhouse as no one else was up there except for a couple of RMI groups, and they were staying in their own bunkhouse. Needless to say, sleep still was hard to come by. We decided to go ahead and try for the summit that night. We got up about 3am, dressed, ate and headed onto the ‘trail of terror’. (A climber in the gift shop, the previous day, held up a Time magazine with Bin Laden’s photo on the front with the headline’Trail of Terror’. The man made reference to the Rainier climb in this context.) Things were going pretty good for a couple of hours or so, then the lack of oxygen started to get to Ric. At 12,000′, we decided to turn around. We were both swearing off of climbing for good, retiring to backpacking, going to sell all our climbing gear, no more of this. AND, we were serious!!! This lasted about 2 days. We are now getting excited about our third (the charm) attempt, possibly to take place in the spring of 2002. If that doesn’t work out, we would hope to try for September 2002.

Concerning the trip down from our summit attempt, Janet began to have serious boot problems that were causing her feet to be in a great deal of pain. So, maybe it’s best things happened the way they did. She has since gotten new boots in preparation for the next time.

 

stairs A new aspect to our training: climbing stairs with a 40# wighted vest, 2-5# each ankle weights and a 15# weight belt! We started at 20 minutes twice a week and increased the time by 5 minutes a week until we were up to one hour fifteen minutes the week before departure.

rest

Jim, who runs a mountain guide and avalanche training service, and Ric taking a rest during the ascent from 6,500′ at Paradise Inn, up to 10,000′ at Camp Muir.

camp muir

Ric sweeping out the ‘first come first serve’ public bunkhouse. A NO FRILLS, basic abode.

jim and ric

Jim and Ric on the Disappointment Cleaver at about 5am.

dawn emmons glacier

Dawn on the Emmons Glacier.

glissade

The easy way down a mountain: sit down and SLIDE! (properly
referred to as a ‘glissade’)

st. helens

Mount St. Helens in the background.