Hope I'm posting in the right place--if not please forgive.
After a few months of serious planning, my son, (almost 10)and I (47) flew from N Carolina to SEA on Thursday Aug 18. After a quick stop at the REI close to SEA-TAC and Albertsons in Spanaway, we arrived in Paradise late in the afternoon, but in time to obtain the necessary permit for our campout. Our plan was to hit the skyline trail no later than 7am Friday. Weather was beautiful and forecast even better for the next 48 hrs. As we prepared our packs and readied for bed, all was well except my pack (Aether 60; excellent choice) was top-heavy beyond belief and a lingering knee pain from training was rearing it's ugly head after a day of rest on the plane. I decided not to panic (or dissuade my son) but just rest and hope for some middle-of-the-night ideas. The obvious pack solution was to reposition although it took some sleep to clear my head and allow the obvious to emerge. The knee, well, I could only hope that it would loosen up when worked.
We hit the trailhead at 6:50 am, my pack heavy, but CG OK now. My sons pack (Atomos 35 -terrible choice)also OK with his sleeping bag, clothes, and water.
The hike to Pebble Creek was about 1hr:30 and by halfway, the knee was feeling great. Never bothered me again. We had several small stops, mostly photo ops, and some conversations with folks inquiring about our plan and giving my son lots of encouragement. How nice!
After some food and topping off the bottles at Pebble Creek with our MSR filter, we slapped on the 50 block and headed up. Not many groups around still which was very nice indeed.
The snowfield was soft all the way and up/down paths clearly identifiable, pretty much as I expected given the great weather, however I must admit that some sections were steeper than I had imagined. My son had a slip or two in the moon rocks area and I had to assist a little. Along the way traffic was building(we were being passed) and we continued to gets lots of encouragement from just about everyone we met. We had an especially nice conversation from a very fit looking 64 yr old man that had summited 7 times on 6 routes. He's planning one more before he calls it quits. What a life!
Above the moon rocks, we begin to slow our pace, and quickly realized that we still have a lot of work to do. At abt 9,500 ft or so we pretty much went to baby steps,6 and rest, 6 and rest until we reached Muir (wind-Calm, sunny 42 deg). Time elapsed 7 hr:15.
I felt great and was puzzled that I was not really tired or sore. My son complained of being a little dizzy, but he was having too much fun skiing in his boots to worry.
Tent setup was more of a challange than anticipated and I asked some neighbors for advice. They were happy to help and I felt confident that we were ready for the expected increasing winds overnight.
Life at Muir is all about work and focus. I had hoped to have some fun and walk around more, but everyone is very busy preparing for the summit and we too had our hands full just getting snow melted (jetboil-excellent choice for me since it's idiot-proof)and organized for the night. At 8:10, the sun fell behind the rocks and the temp quickly plunged. At this point, we zipped the door and window (REI 2 man dome-good choice)and finished eating (Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki- Yuk! & Rasberry/Chocolate Crumble- thankfully, Yum!). The rest of the night my son kept repeating "cheese pizza, cheeze pizza..." Poor guy couldnt't eat a thing that I brought. Then we dressed in layers and zipped up in our bags because I was starting to get concerned about our comfort as the wind began to flap the tent a bit and our gloves were still damp. My plan was to stay put until we felt sun on the tent the next morning. Overnight, bright moon, winds steady from the W-SW at 10-20. Lots of Ice falling in the distance; Kaa-boooom. My son slept very well; me, in and out, lots of repositioning to keep the cold air from seeping in.
Since the gloves were still damp, we stayed put until around 8:15 when the sun hit our position. Life was getting better by the minute. At around 9, it sounded like a bomb went off. We quickly unzipped the north-facing window just in time to see the dust cloud from a rock slide in the beehive. I'm thinking, huh, isn't this about the time peaple start to return from the top? Hope no one got dinged.
It took a while to get repacked and buttoned up. After some pix of the upper Cowlitz and Muir huts we departed at 11:15 am.
Coming down was just plain slippery. My son couldn't quite get the hang of the lunge step (so ably taught to us by a neighbor at Muir), so it was a real pain coming down. But another beautiful day so what the heck. Now my son was repeating "chicken nuggets, chicken nuggets..." all the way down. One nasty exposure transitioning to the rocks from the snowfield and we were back at Pebble Creek. Down from there started as a victory lap of sorts but for me quickly turned into misery as the effects of the downhill manifested in my knees and toes. By the treeline, I was just shuffleing along. Toes numb. My son was totally embarrased. But not me, our goal was completed after 5 hrs downhill (I had expected 3-4)and right back into our Ford Escape headed to the brother-in-law's in Seattle. What a gret trip. We had so much going for us, preparation and great weather, and the few bonehead decisions I made were not critical. Again, many thanks to all that provided great info for planning our trip. I know that my son will treasure this for a lifetime and for me, well, I think you all can induldge me when I tell you that he is the greatest. Safe travels to all. - NCClimber