Sunday, June 22, 2003

Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier, WA
14,410 feet
June 21-22, 2003

This only counts as a pseudo-attempt at climbing Rainier. Kirsten, Becky and I had planned this weekend for several weeks, but when it arrived, it came with a "winter-like" weather system, according to the weather forecast. We didn't actually believe that if we went we would succeed in climbing, but we were supposed to meet three recent grads of the WAC basic climbing class, Kris, Paul and Erica, who had gone up to camp at Emmons Flats on Friday, so we couldn't really bail on them and go climbing in sunny Vantage.

On the way up it started to snow and when we got into camp it was extremely windy. The other guys helped us set up camp, which was a big help because we were pretty knackered from the hike up. We were had trouble with our stove and we didn't finish melting snow until about 9pm, which only left us about 4 hours of potential for sleep. At 1:00am we woke up. The wind was howling and we had to yell to the guys in the other tent to be heard. We all agreed to sleep for a couple more hours and see how it was. At 3am, we woke up again and things were the same. Bitterly cold and windy. We went back to sleep.

At 7am we woke up again and heard the other guys getting ready to go. They had decided to give it a go even though it was late, but we wimped out and packed up to head down. We advised them to turn around by noon so they could get down before the snow bridges started softening up too much. We made one more radio contact with them at around 11am when we were near the bottom of the Inter Glacier and they said they were going to turn around soon. The next day we found out they had continued all the way to the top, summitting in the early afternoon to picture perfect weather -- clear skis, no wind -- so the joke was on us!

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