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[TR] Mount Rainier - Emmons Galcier 6/15/2015

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Trip: Mount Rainier - Emmons Galcier


Date: 6/15/2015


Trip Report:

A brief trip report.: Alvin, Simon, Theodore, 3 anonymous climbers, planning to carry their packs to the summit to camp there, for an overnight adventure.


On Monday June 15th, we began our climb from the White River Camp ground. Made our way up to the Inter Glacier, applied crampons, and climbed on up the Inter Glacier to Camp Curtis, on firm packed snow, with the occasional crevasse visible and easily avoided. Hit the ridge a bit high/west, and had brief detour east before roping up to descend onto the Emmons glacier. Navigated up the Emmons glacier to camp Shurman, and made camp on the glacier. After melting snow and eating supper, we settled in for a good sleep.


We were planning to spend 2 nights on/near the summit, so packed up the full camp, and with loaded packs, got moving about twilight. Since we were planning to camp on the summit, no need for alpine start, as there would be no early descent. Simon, one of the guys, wasn't feeling well, struggling with exertion and nausea, and eventually vomiting. Looked like AMS, even though Simon was well trained, well conditioned, young, and never had any altitude issues before. We pushed on, but it became apparent that this was not resolving, in spite of rest breaks, and trying food and/or fluids. At 12,000 feet we regrouped. Alvin suggested a high bivy, but that entails finding a level or gentle slope, or vigorous tent pad digging. Also, no guarantee that Simon's AMS would resolve. Theodore suggested stripping the excess gear from Alvin and Theodore's packs, loading up Simon's essentials on their packs, and stowing Simon's pack. Then make for a night on the summit, picking everything up the next day on the way down. Simon didn't like the idea of stowing a pack, and again, the AMS may not resolve. We decided to descend, climbing back down the route. Simon continued with nausea for much of the down-climb, though started to feel better. Had a crevasse incident, with the middle climber, Simon, falling on a sketchy snow bridge crossing. Alvin was leading, and had placed a picket set as running belay, plus Alvin's boot axe belay, kept Simon from sliding far. Theodore backed up the picket and held the belay. Alvin secured and backed up the boot/axe, and using the rescue coil, retrieved Simon's pack. Simon was then able to scramble 8 feet up onto the snow bridge, with no need for Z-pulley rescue. Stopped at Emmons Flats to camp in peace and quiet, where there were 3 nice tent pads dug out, plus recessed latrine spot (to be used with Blue Bags, of course). After a good rest, and significant food intake, we were all feeling revived. Discussed options, and we all agreed that, if at 2 am Simon was feeling OK, he would stay the day in camp at Emmons Flats. Alvin and Theodore would try to summit with light packs, following the IMG guided group (whom it was apparent were planning to summit), and return to camp. Alvin and Theodore stripped down the packs, and boiled up plenty of water, before heading to bed.


Wednesday AM (Tuesday Night?) Alvin and Theodore were up at 2am. Simon was feeling fine, with no nausea or ill feeling, and tolerating food and fluids well. Alvin and Theodore roped up, and following well behind the IMG group, climbed on up. We achieved summit in 5 1/2 hours. Snow was more firm, with temps below freezing, and a brisk NW wind. Had a nice rest, heated our freezing water on a fumarole, took nice summit pictures, and Theodore commented "It is so nice up here, I just don't understand why people don't camp up here". We then headed back to Emmons Flats, and Simon, without incident. Snow was soft below 12000 feet, and sloppy lower down. Back to camp in 4 1/2 hours, in time for a nap, and quiet, restful, beautiful evening. Watched the activity below at Camp Shurman, including a bit of helicopter viewing, as the rangers were practicing a helicopter drop onto the top ridge of Steamboat Prow. Simon was feeling fine, and had spent the day with his iPhone (and back-up battery pack) and 32x digital camera, watching the climbers and enjoying the scenery.


Thursday AM, got up with the sun, and headed back to the car. A quick 'dump' stop at Camp Shurman, to lighten the load, was appreciated! A bit of glisadding on the Inter Glacier was fun, as well.


Hope to try again for 2 nights on the summit, as all 3 of us feel it is worth the effort. I would climb with them again.


Allan "Alvin" Schroden

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Awesome summit. I highly suggest a summit over night. We did a bivy at 13.5K during a meteor shower, one of life's highlights for me.

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