Anyone Climb Mt. Rainier

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Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 26, 2007 - 11:09pm PT
Hello All,

As a few know I am on a quest to do the entire John Muir Trail this next summer. But, I am also interested in climbing MT. Rainier as well. Just curious if anyone has done this. I know this is a bit OT but what is not on this forum lately. I am just looking for some suggestions.

Cheers
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Nov 26, 2007 - 11:22pm PT

but you might want to do Shasta first.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Nov 26, 2007 - 11:23pm PT
Did it in '74. Early start on summit day and one foot after the other, does it. Not that technical, if you're doing that much hiking you'll be in!
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
Nov 26, 2007 - 11:23pm PT
yeah couple of times.. great mt for the lower 48, shasta or other cascades first.
beebuh

Big Wall climber
boulder
Nov 26, 2007 - 11:24pm PT
get in really f*#king good shape.

start at midnight.

don't fall in those big ass cracks.

look out for rockfall.

dont make this your first clime, its not that easy.
nature

climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 26, 2007 - 11:30pm PT
and do a route other than DC.

Kautz is what I'd recommend.
Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 26, 2007 - 11:50pm PT
I am in pretty good shape. I hike 2.5 to 14.5 miles per day depending on the day and how I feel. I also MT. Bike on days I do not hike. Looking to get back into the climbing gym this winter too. Just getting back into the grove this week. as it has been a long month here in San Diego. My house is Ok. but all around me is gone. a strange feeling.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 26, 2007 - 11:54pm PT

I've climbed Rainier 6-8 times and recommend it. Shasta first is a good idea, and you might even climb Lassen before that. Just to get into snow climbing. It's different, fun, you can climb way steep snow right away as long as you pick spots to practice that have good runouts. Like 70-degrees in front of you, and slide to flat 30' behind.

I love the Emmons Glacier on the east side of Rainier -- biggest glacier in the lower 48. Fun, moderate climb, but weather and crevasses can turn it WAY serious in a heartbeat. Think stumblind downward through a maze of death falls in a whiteout. You'll want skills or a guide. A GPS makes running that gauntlet in whiteout far easier than old skool compass and altimiter. You need to practice.

The other biggie is crevasse rescue skills. You probably won't fall in, but... You can get the basics out of a book, and try them out in shorts on the overhanging side of a sunny boulder.
But you need to practice the real-life stuff like cold hands, wet rope, getting your pack off (like escaping the belay) without losing it, and how to deal with the rope cutting two feet into the overhanging snow at the lip of the crevasse.

A class is a good way to acquire and practice those skills. You have to put in the hours or you're fooling yourself. Practicing self-arrest with the ice axe too.

Can't tell you anything about the normal southside route.

Have fun. Take plenty of time. It's a wild environment, and the weather could shut you out. 4-5 days is not too long. Treat it like a mini-expedition. There is some wild ice climbing out of crevasses near Camp Sherman. If you ski, take 'em along and go early in the year.
Brew Monkey

Big Wall climber
Bend Oregon
Nov 27, 2007 - 12:03am PT
I have done the Fuher Finger a couple of times. I think it is a great route that is pretty direct from Paradise Lodge, which is also the starting point for the DC route. The Finger has very few people on it and is still pristine with no guided parties. Set up a high camp on the Wilson Glacier at the base of the Finger. Start at midnight, summit by 9am and you can get back to the lodge the same day. Rainer is a Beautiful mountain with drastic weather changes so be prepared for the worst, I suggest on a route like this to use wands. If you get stuck in a white out up high is unlikey you will be able to reverse the route in a storm with out wands. The hanging serac's are outstanding!
Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2007 - 12:03am PT
Thanks DR some good advice. This is nothing new to me I have been climbing rocks since the 80s but climbing Rainier is new so I appreciate the info.
atchafalaya

climber
California
Nov 27, 2007 - 12:12am PT
Slakkey, sounds like you will be in shape. It looks big, plenty of time to stop and take photos...


dont worry about the crowds


theres real glaciers up in them hills, have your skills dialed


Your not trying for a speed record, are ya?

the scenery is good.

just keep going...

have fun, and post a tr.




beebuh

Big Wall climber
boulder
Nov 27, 2007 - 12:17am PT
slappey says "This is nothing new to me I have been climbing rocks since the 80s "

what the f*#k does that mean?

rock climbing and climbing a volcano are very different.

you could trad climb 5.15 and still get clipped fast and easy on shasta or some other low ball cascade.





Mimi

climber
Nov 27, 2007 - 12:30am PT
Give yourself extra time on the approach and do it during daylight hours. The trail was blown out by flooding last winter; 18 inches in 36 hours. A coworker climbed it this fall and the trail is still covered with fallen trees, etc. It's going to be awhile before it's cleared.

http://www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/upload/floodPP.pdf

http://mountrainierclimbing.blogspot.com/2006/11/political-attention-duringafter-mt.html
Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2007 - 12:35am PT
Beebuh, Thanks for the warning. I take that sort of stuff very seriously. I have climbed Shasta so this sort of climbing is not entirely new to me. but I have never done Rainier. so the reason for the post.
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
Nov 27, 2007 - 12:44am PT
slakkey , Ranier is a real mountain, shasta is a baby mountain
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 27, 2007 - 01:11am PT
Mt. Rainier is the only mountain in the lower 48 that is even close to what you'll find further north in Canada...

...the California volcanoes are not as serious (not to say they aren't serious...).

I've failed twice on Mt. Rainier.

The first time we were a group of 5, me and my buddy Mike were the only experienced guys in the group. Somehow, and I never understood how, Mike ran into a guy at the stone head at Muir Camp and agreed to have him climb with us. I was skeptical... but not only that, I've never known Mike to agree to climb with a complete stranger.

We started up the DC route in two groups of three, one led by me, the other by Mike. We ran into a French encampment of movie makers... who shot us (can't imagine they used the footage)... a some point we were above the Cleaver on the shoulder and in a very high and cold wind. Mike's "friend" decided he couldn't go any further... he would wait for us there! No way he was going to sit there and be in shape to go down with us once we returned. Water was freezing in the bottle I had inside my jacket. He also wasn't going to descend safely alone through the maze of crevasses. So I volunteered to take him down, Mike led on with a team of four.

I get the "friend" down, and crash in my tent... we had been up at 1am and off at 2am. About an hour later Mike comes into camp with his charges. "Did you make the top?"

"No, too windy, but if you had been up there with me we could have gotten them on the summit. As it was, all I could think of was one of them falling and all of us being pulled off..."

The second time Mike and I went up to "settle the score" and get this summit off the tick list. But we thought it would be more sporting to do the 50 Crowded Climb, Liberty Ridge route. We got there and negotiated our way over to the base of the climb. We got to take #11 and #12, there was a huge line waiting to get up to The Thumb... we didn't have that kind of time so we bailed over to the Emmons Glacier route.

That morning the stove malfunctioned so we had luke warm chocolate... and something inedible choked down. A team of Canadians trundled through our camp headed up the route. We got ready and took off. We were climbing strong, 1200'/hr and passed the Canadians and were going great guns.... up to the cloud ceiling. We could spy the cloud finger coming off the sound and nailing the summit... I think my altimeter read something close to 13,000'... but we just didn't want to go up into the clouds, it was white out up there and we had never been on the summit, and we left the wands back home this time.

So we bailed again. We passed all manner of climber coming up, and Mike was getting upset enough to obtain some bad climbing karma ("it's just not fair, we should be up there, it should be a good day,... why are they going to make it..."). We hit the tree line and it was raining. That was the time, lost in my little parka world where the hiking rhythm stimulated the earworm The Girl From Ipanema over and over again... probably the mind trying to get itself into a nice spot. It was slushy melting snow for most of the hike out.

When we got to the car, and got changed, Mike put the key in the ignition to learn that the battery was dead, we'd left the lights on. So one of us had to go out and get someone to jump it... the car we rented couldn't be roll started. Mike went out (what a friend!) and fortunately found a ranger quickly.

You need to have skills to be on glaciers with big crevasses... otherwise you are worse than useless to your partner. The second time we were on the mountain was a week before a guided rope fell because of unstable snow, killing the lead guide. We had unstable snow during our trip and were very watchful. If you don't know snow on a mountain you can be in for some rather unpleasant surprises.

And being in shape is a really, really good idea.
Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2007 - 01:15am PT
Lucky Pink,

I know all too well the difference between Shasta and Rainier. I have been thinking about this for some time. I know also all too well this is some serious sh#t. so, no need to harp on the issue. I just want the comments of some inside info. on climbing the mountain. There is plenty on the web about this, but I have been here awhile and trust those that I know over the past who Have done this for their insight
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
Nov 27, 2007 - 01:20am PT
no worries slakkey.. in girl talk a baby mountain is a beautiful thing. there is a big difference in scale, weather, glacier conditions, etc between the two mountains.. relax a little huh.
Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2007 - 01:23am PT
Ed,

You know I take your advice with the most respect. I know this is going to be hard and I know this is going to be difficult but like you I have to try.
Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2007 - 01:25am PT
Lucky Pink

No Worries here either.
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