Mt. Rainier Summit in the Bag


Sweet victory! On August 12, I summited Mt. Rainier, reaching 14,410 feet. I'm still in a bit of disbelief that the whole thing went down.

Before I turned 30, I planned to own a home, have a master's degree and have a good job. I hoped to be married (and lucked out there.) I didn't have Mt. Rainier in the game plan mostly because I didn't think I would ever have time to prepare myself for such an adventure. Finding a steady men's soccer team seemed like enough of a challenge.

Of course, my job is in the mountaineering business, so that was the catalyst. Whereas a Mt. Rainier summit climb is deservedly a bucket list for many people -- especially for people who live out of state -- I work with people who summit the mountain weekly for their job or for their love of the mountains and the convenience of Paradise being 45 minutes from the office. The opportunity presented itself through coworkers a few weeks back and I went for it. My Mt. Adams summit the previous week was a good training exercise.

My friend and Whittaker Mountaineering store manager Brian led the group. We hiked four miles and 4,000 feet to Camp Muir on a Friday and camped in the snow there and stayed at Muir all day on Saturday. We took the extra day to acclimatize, rest and wait for a second group that our rentals manager Katie was bringing up the hill. We "woke up" at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday to get dressed for the summit climb, another 4,000 feet of climbing. We took the classic Disappointment Cleaver route, which involved several crevasse crossings at Ingraham Flats, a scramble up the Cleaver and a hell of a lot of switchbacks and more crevasse crossings up to Rainier's crater and 14,410. Here are the photos, and there's a video below as well. Thanks for loaning the GoPro, Scott!

Hiking the Muir snowfield. Mt Rainier summit climb

Andy with Rick Flair sunglasses and Mt. Adams in the background. Mt Rainier summit climb

Camp Muir from our camping spot in the snow. Mt Rainier summit climb

The back side of Camp Muir. Mt Rainier summit climb

Our base camp. Mt Rainier summit climb

Camp Muir at rush hour (when guided climbs are coming or going). Mt Rainier summit climb

We climbed in the dark, so I only got a couple photos on the ascent after sunrise. Through the night, the view was spectacular with clear skies and bright stars. Mt Rainier summit climb

Mt Rainier summit climb

We summited at 7:15 a.m., after six hours of climbing. Here's a view walking into Rainier's crater. Mt Rainier summit climb

Brian at the summit. Mt Rainier summit climb

Walking down on the descent. Mt Rainier summit climb

Mt Rainier summit climb