Training and Climbing on Mt Rainier is always a great adventure. Day 1 started with sorting out gear and self rescue training at the Whittaker's Basecamp, which is located just outside the park. On Day 2 we were up early to catch our ride up the mountain to the Paradise parking lot. Lots of rain from the night before brought wet conditions and low clouds and it wasn’t far up the trail before we were in the middle of the clouds. Finally we broke through the clouds and began self arrest training in preparation for the next 5 days on Rainier. The team then made our way up the mountain to set up camp 1 for the night. From our vantage point on Rainer we were subject to the most spectacular views. On Day 3 we quickly packed up and headed to about 9,500 Ft elevation to set up camp 2. With more nasty weather on the way this meant making camp rock solid and digging those tents down in to prepare for the wind.
We spent 2 days training at Camp 2 including ice climbing and playing in the crevasses. There was a decent amount of snow and wind. Day 4 included more wind and more snow. Day 5 involved a quick traverse to camp Muir and more prep for our summit bid. Preparation for this requires sorting out gear and packing up our small summit packs for a 12am summit attempt. We were in our bunks by 5pm and resting for a big summit push in a few hours. 12am came quicker then we wanted but the team was ready and headed up towards the flats by 1am. Our team pushed up the Cleaver and was making good time for a sunrise summit. Just between the Cleaver and the summit the conditions turned for the worse. Layers of snow and other key clues indicated a high degree of avalanche danger along our route. We made the best decision we could based on the visual assessment of the snow conditions and the Team turned around and made our way back down the Cleaver. What a great week of training on Mt Rainier. Thanks to the entire team for their hard work.
Walter, Gilbert and Sean- Thanks again!
Mt Rainier we will see you again soon!