Sal's Rainier climb. May 12-13, 2006, with RMI Guides.

What a spectacular mountain! Pictures below!!

If any of you has any interest in mountaineering at all, you have to do Rainier. It's just gorgeous. It's steeper and more exposed than I thought it would be (and that was cool with me!). We had to wear crampons from all the way down at 8,000ft, and above Camp Muir we used (and needed) fixed lines, running belays. . . really the whole works of technical gear. I even got to arrest when a guy on my rope team dropped a leg into a crevasse! That was scary, although he did actually catch himself. : )

Was it hard? Well, of the 9 guys that started (plus 3 guides), only 4 of us made it to the top (plus two guides). My solo permit request was denied, so for lack of a partner I went with RMI Guides. But that was a good thing. The crevasses are HUGE! : )
The guides all said that this was a particularly difficult summit day. They say Ingraham Glacier is more broken up at this time of year, this early in the season, than any of them has ever seen it. So, instead of the Ingraham Glacier route, we were forced to move over to the Dissapointment Cleaver route. We were the first group to go up the Cleaver this season, so we had to wand the route, chop all our own steps, and rig fixed lines. So, it took us about two hours longer to summit than most guided groups. It was also really really cold, estimated at about 4 degrees at the top with 70mph winds from as low as about 12,000ft (Rainier is 14,410). I think combined that made the wind chill about, like, minus 6,000. ; )
So, I got some good battle scars. I have some serious windburn on my face, in the gap between my goggles and balaclava. It's basically frostbite, but only on the skin. Plus, the obligatory glacier sunburn. So I'll be ugly for a while, but it was worth it. : )

Other highlights....?
Our head guide has summited Everest before, and the other two guides have all been on Denali, Aconcagua, Kilamanjaro, etc., etc. . . Very inspiring. One of the guides was a cute girl, Lindsay, who is only about my size (5'3", 5'4"on a tall day), but she carried a 45lb pack full of climbing gear all the way to the top. She had a giant Astralplane pack that was acting like a sail. But she just kept going. She's my new hero.
I got to meet Lou Whittaker, the famous mountaineer, at dinner Friday night. AND, I had my first ever piece of blackberry pie! That's the best pie I ever had!! How come we don't have blackberries down here!? : )
Oh, and I had some Raineer Beer. Actually, I drank a lot of Rainieer beer hanging out with the guides after the climb. The have me really inspired to do a lot more mountaineering now. So, with the forests closing in New Mexico, I'll be heading up to Colorado a fair amount this summer. Like June! !

I didn't get any really good photos this trip. Besides the light not cooperating, this climb definitely required both hands on the wheel. But here are a few things. : )

 

Mt. Rainier

Front row (l-r): Jeff, Shawn, Sal. Back row (l-r) Cory, Doc, KC, Roger

Jeff, Cory, Sal, Doc, KC, Roger, Rishi

Shawn & Larry

Mt. Adams seen from Camp Muir

First rest break. 3:00am. Larry, Rishi, Jeff, Roger at about 11,00ft.

Sunrise from Disappointment Cleaver

In the summit crater (l-r): Brent (lead guide), Roger (in Blue), Jeff, Lindsay (guide), Larry

Sal (me), Jeff, Roger & Larry --in the summit crater.

Larry & Sal

Head Guide, Brent

Guide Lindsay, below the summit.

Lindsay with Mt. Adams in the background

Roger, Dave (guide), and Jeff - Mt. Adams in the background.

 

Jeff, Sal, Lindsay

Descending fixed lines on Disappointment Cleaver

Lindsay and Larry on the decent.

Little Tahoma Peak (I think)

Larry & Sal

Mt. St. Helens

Rainier