Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mount Rainier Climb with Mountain Madness on the Emmons Glacier

I just got back from a climb of Mount Rainier with Mountain Madness.  It was a return group of folks that I climbed with in Bolivia last year.  The Mt. Rainier climb starts with the drive to Mt. Rainier National Park and then a short hike to the Glacier Basin camp.  We spend the night there and continue up to Camp Sherman the next day.  Although some people choose to climb from the trail head all the way to Camp Sherman the same day the break at Glacier Basin makes for a much more enjoyable hike and an overall better experience.  

Wildlife at Glacier Basin camp.  

Danny learning the details of the First Light tent.
We got an early start the following morning and headed up the Interglacier to the ridge below Camp Sherman.   

Looking at our group heading up the Interglacier.  

Once at Camp Sherman we had the option of climbing to the summit the following morning or taking a rest day and heading to the summit the next day.  Given the unstable weather we decided to take a rest day.  

The view from my "alpine office".

Mountain Madness guide Jamie.  

An RMI group heading up the mountain.  Although the weather looks good in this photo, the group turned around before the summit due to bad weather.  

The ranger hut at Camp Sherman.

Two climbers arrive back at camp after turning around before the summit.  

The next morning was clear and  cold.  The weather forecast for most of the Puget Sound was for rain.  We were above that rain, so we roped up and headed for the summit.

Camp at 4am.

A rope team heading to the summit.  

Rick, Nancy and Jamie on the rope in front leaving camp.  
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Traversing above a crevasse.  

Feeling the altitude on a steep slope around 11,500ft.  

Rick enjoying the day.  

Nancy and Rick with Little Tahoma in the background.  

It is always worth taking the time to stop and fix blisters before the get worse.  Guide extraordinaire Jamie doing some blister maintenance   

Jamie's rope team at about 12,000ft.  

Nancy enjoying the weather.  


Mt. Rainier is not an easy climb.  Danny takes a few minutes to reflect on that fact.  

Danny looking a little better after a Cliff Bar and some water.  
Danny, Margen and Nancy all went to the summit with Jamie.  Rick and I turned around and headed down.
Rick heading down after a long battle with blisters.  
Heading down for me was a good excuse to concentrate on some photography, which is always a good way to spend an afternoon.  

A rope team arrives back at camp from the summit.   

An icefall on the Emmons Glacier meets the clouds.  

Interesting patterns on the glacier.  
I have spent a lot of time over the years shooting black and whiter photos of glaciers.  Much of this was in Alaska from the air.  If you have not seen those photos they are posted on my website here.  The Glacier photos are under mountain images in the "glacier project" gallery.

Jamie, Margen, Danny and Nancy returning to camp from the summit.  

Margen and Nancy drinking tea after climbing Mt. Rainier.  

Jamie making it look easy.
Anyone who knows me understands that it is really not possible for me to go anywhere these days without shooting photos of some birds.  This bird is a grey crowned rosy finch.  They are common in Washington's alpine areas, and very common at Camp Sherman.  

Grey Crowned Rosy Finch.  
The following day we headed down, getting an early start knowing that food, and beer were waiting for us back in town.  

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