This climb was a part of the WTA Charity Climb to benefit Washington state trails and parks. The other half of this climb was an attempt at Mt Baker, during which we ended up spending nearly 15 hours in our sleeping bags. However, my partner Brandon and I did make a successful attempt at Baker which you can see here. Thank you to KAF Adventures for an excellent time! I would highly suggest them to anyone looking to get into the sport. Their focus on education is unparalleled.
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So now for the sad part of the story. Due to a long summer of climbing and working, with little rest in between, I managed to lose nearly all of my photographs from climbing Rainier. So instead of my usual multi day, several page format, I am going to keep this one short. I am really not into the idea of reliving my lack of photos and memories. Luckily My group mates were willing to share their's, but I will not use them on my website out of respect for their hard work of climbing the mountain.
Little Tahoma From The Trail
Day 1: For our group in the charity climb I was excited to learn that we got to climb the Emmons side of the mountain. Steep and difficult, it seemed like a good test of my ability to many of the larger mountains that I hope to set foot on one day. We started off by hiking up the valley to Glacier Basin campground (not entirely sure of the name). The campground was excellent with easy access to water, a simple and easy approach and a cramped but excellent plethora of sites. The easy first day was welcome, and once in camp we practiced rescue techniques, rope up methods. An absolute blast for anyone into climbing.
Prayer Flags Flying From Ranger Station
Day 2: From the campground near/in Glacier Basin, we headed up the rough climbers trail early in the morning. From here the trail becomes spectacular. Close up views of Little Tahoma will dominate the day, but it will be interspersed with glimpses of the surrounding valleys and peaks. Passing the ranger station we were greeted by a friendly ranger asking for our passes and offering a few words of advice. We ended up camping just above the ranger station, once again not sure if this camp has a name or not.
The camp was itself, pretty incredible. It was a little nerve wracking camping just a few feet from some pretty serious crevasses but pondering the next day's adventure, quickly quieted my mind and got me into bed ready for whatever came next.
Brandon and Todd Climbing In Front Of Me
Days 3 and 4: We woke up at around 1 am on July 23rd to what can only be described as perfect mountaineering weather. Bitter cold (low 20's), nearly zero wind, a clear sky and almost no others on the glacier yet. We ate breakfast and started quickly but I could tell our pace for the first hour or so was incredibly slow. Either way, once the sun started to rise the mountain became magical. Lighting up pink and changing hues as the light slowly grew stronger. Photos abounded and I wish that I still had some, but I suppose I will just have to go again.
The climb itself was far less difficult then I imagined, but I feel like i should say that I had undergone a fairly serious training program for the entire summer that you can find here if interested. Reaching the summit is something that I cannot put into words. I honestly still don't know how to describe it, and every time I see it I still get some fuzzy feelings. It is worth every step, that I can say.
After leaving the summit, we were stuck in a few traffic jams on our way down and so I got to learn how to make new trail on a glacier! Freighting, yes, but also 100% fun. Either way I am pretty sure the endorphin's running through my body weren't going to let me feel fear or anything else bad at that point. I was just on a pure mountain high and loving every minute of it.
Once we arrived back at camp we took the rest of the day to enjoy our accomplishment and imbibe a little. I carried a 22 oz glass bottle up the mountain for my enjoyment, everyone else brought cans. I may have looked like the fool who had to carry the heavy glass bottle, but all the others in the group wanted a taste of my brew.
The last day was just a simple hike out with a lot of looking back in wonderment at the whole group's accomplishment. Our entire group of 10 made it without serious problems, that is unheard of.