Mt. Rainier

Description:  During the start of my mountaineering career I returned regularly to Mt. Rainier.   In 2007 and 8 I did the two trade routes (Emmons and Disappointment Cleaver (DC).   In 2009 I skied the Fuhrer Finger, followed by a climb with my Dad and Sister.  The next year I did a climb of Liberty Ridge in 2010. The next two years my attention switched to leading my fellow Foster MBA classmates up the Emmons route to raise over $15,000 and Awareness for Foster's Challenge for Charity efforts, which primarily support the Special Olympics and Boys and Girls Club.  When leading folks I prefer the three day approach where Day 1 is the approach, and day 2 we get to play in come crevasses before summitting and coming the whole way out the following day.  

I've also been turned around because of sick party members or conditions and found my summits of Fuhrer finger and Liberty ridge to be two of the most exhausting days I've ever had in the Mountains. The Liberty Ridge climb was in early in July, which is typically late for that route - We were wollowing in soft snow to Thumb rock, and I found the camp at thumb rock to have more objective danger than I am comfortable with- We arrived at camp to find torso size boulders had fallen from the gendarme upslope littering all the bivy spots.  I started to essentially dig a snow cave to protect from rockfall, but the shovel snapped in half, leaving us to build a retaining wall. We had no incidents, but the 60+ MPH wind during the climb the sucked our energy, as well as leading the AI2+ burgy with a full overnight pack.  I was litteraly army crawling the summit ridge because the wind was too strong and my energy was so low.  As we dropped over towards the Emmons, we found shelter from the wind and our energy quickly returned.  On the hike out we encountered folks hiking back up the trail - not wanting to go uphill any further we tried to hold our ground, but quickly saw the black bear that was rambling up the trail toward them.  Luckily we didn't have to retreat far as the bear took a big dump on the trail and wandered off. 

Rainier is a special mountain with lots of great routes.  Experiencing the sun rising as Seattle wakes its sleepy head is an experience regardless of the route. 

 

 

Stories by Scott Heinz ( Medical Moose Labs)

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